Why L.A.'s Start-up Scene Beats All Others. The uber-argument in this one is that talent is easier to find, but there's also this bit:
There wasn't initially easy access to venture capital in L.A. and entrepreneurs had no choice but to build profitable business models from the start.
The exactly opposite could also be argued -- that for L.A. to succeed it needs greater access to venture capital. But there's the start to some ideas in there.
This new personal genome sequencer, branded "Ion Torrent", is the size of a desktop printer, takes just 2 hours to run, and costs only $50,000. Which means in a few years, the price will come down, everyone will have one, and it will interface with Facebook. Who's coming over for my sequencing party in 2013? Bring your pets.
A French photojournalist reports on his visit to a Foxconn factory in China where they make iPhones, etc. He didn't find what we consider to be child labor, but the working conditions in the factory/city don't sound too pleasant (13 hour shifts, 6-7 days per week). He has a pic of one girl who checks 28,000 printer cartridges per day (up 40% since last year). TUAW has a nice summary if you don't want to read the whole thing.
Apple has added support for the Cherokee language to the iPhone. It's expected this will help Cherokee kids communicate in the language, which will prolong its life. Language is politics.
I don't know which part of this interview with Fred Wilson I like most (all of which is packed with accidents of success), but I'll pick this one:
How did you start blogging?
I was at a cocktail party at Nick Denton's house several years ago and the founders of Moveable Type were at the party. They convinced me to blog, so I went home, set up a blog and started blogging.
At Techcrunch Disrupt (going on right now in NYC), Michael Arrington interviews Charlie Rose (you read that right!)
If you're not good enough, you might just not be good enough. Stop using the woman thing as a crutch and work on what needs to be done in order to break-through. I want to change the call to action from asking men to give us a chance to asking women to step it up and make sure you're making it known if you want to be in tech/business and will be successful in it.
-Eileen Burbidge --SK
woke up on top of my iphone this morning. i am not alone.
i sometimes wonder if my iPhone resents the constant partial attention i give it. [insert ADD joke about moving on to another topic here. -- FB
witness, content creation on an iPad!
so to the guy sitting behind me at PSFK who couldn't figure out the keyboard and regurgitated the 'consumption not creation' meme at me, i say neener-neener-neener. -- FB
in related news, steve jobs says no, you can not build an iPad app for your porn collection. he doesn't care how 'artistic' it is. --FB
I don't have any idea how Google's tablet will compete with the iPad, but the mere introduction of it basically solidifies that this type of device will the new way we encounter computing for the next many years.
The fact that Joanne is saying smart things about the attention economy in this week's episode seems good enough reason to point you all to Spark, CBC's great techno-culture podcast hosted by the sultry-voiced Nora Young (Andy was also on it last year talking about Kind of Bloop and Kickstarter).
The show tends to veer toward the abstract side of the tech world, choosing to focus on people like Kevin Kelly, Bill Buxton or Jesse Schell rather than talking about the latest gadgets or geek-friendly pop culture. -NA
I realise it may seem silly to link to an iPad review especially a few days on, but Gizmodo's is worth reading, and not just because of the weirdness that neither they nor Engadget got early review units.
No - it's the fact that Brian chose to write his review as a narrative of a day with an iPad that feels so refreshing and so bullshit- and hype-free. The fact that it's capped off with a video from Joel Johnson - who's arguably the best tech writer working today - is just icing on this surprising cake. -NA
We know how this goes now, right? Apple launches something, we all partake in - and quickly get sick of - the breathless conversation, and then the smart people we like use the buzz to say something altogether more interesting.
To wit: Hilobrow's Peggy Nelson wonders what happens when technology in general fulfills the promise of the iPad's interface and simply disappears.
What are we left with? "Virtual space junk orbiting around each of us, the shards of Friendster and old DOS-based BBS, YouTube videos sunning themselves in the periphery, email and blogs and Twitter streams in a state of continual update, all floating about in lazy ellipses." -NA
Hey if you want to steal Google Maps coding to turn in for your 2nd year C++ course at community college, the SA forums have a really good cheat-sheet for you to use. Mr. Baronsky totally won't notice the difference, since he's too busy getting drunk to forget about his impending divorce.
If Windows 7, Mac OS X, or Ubuntu Linux aren't doing it for you, maybe try out a state-sponsored operating system from your favorite dictatorship: North Korea's Red Star or Cuba's Nova. Both appear to be Linux variants.
Engadget reports that the North Korean distro looks a lot like Windows, with just a few minor differences: the equivalent of the "Start" button has been replaced with a red star, and Firefox is called "My Country." Oh, and: it doesn't connect to the internet...just the local, gov't-approved BBS.
Threat Level reports that the Chinese hackers who attacked Google and more than 30 other high profile companies a few month ago targeted the companies' source code management systems, meaning they had access to -- and apparently the ability to modify -- the "crown jewels" of their targets' intellectual property: their software. The victims of the attack used Perforce to manage their code, and according to Threat Level, Perforce seems to have an extremely weak security model. (For instance, anonymous users with no password can add users to the system.)
Amtrak's Acela Express trains (which run at high speed along the northeast corridor from DC to Boston) will be getting free wifi. It's coming to some of the major stations, too. But the regular old trains will not be getting it any time soon, so you'll still have to make do talking to those Emerson College kids for 5 hours. --ADM
TiVo just launched its next-generation DVR, called TiVo Premiere. It's 1080p, eSata, 320GB, 802.11n, blah blah blah and looks like a TiVo from the year 2010. But check out this cool remote! It's a QWERTY slider! --ADM
Update: Here's the remote in action.
Here's some developing tech that will let you turn your skin into a touchscreen. The first two questions for any new technology apply here: (1) How does this apply to me? (2) How does this apply to porn? --adm
Apple has released its annual report [PDF] on the labor conditions in its factories overseas. Highlights:
- Underage workers: "Across the three facilities, our auditors found records of 11 workers who had been hired prior to reaching the legal age."
- More than half of the plants had employees working more than the permissible 60 hours per week.
- 45 of the 102 audited plants were docking employee pay as a means of punishment. Apple says this is legal according to local laws, but has stopped this practice.
The econ/finance site Minyanville analyzes a recent report from AdMob and notes that "roughly 73% of Android users are male." The iPhone's user base, by contrast, is gender-balanced. Why? Minyanville says it's because of -- surprise! -- marketing. For example, Droid ads include subtle messages like, "It's not a princess. It's a robot. A phone that trades hair-do for can-do." Apparently men, like robots, regularly fall for this kind of thing. --ADM
"BowLingual, Dog-to-human language translator which got The 2002 Ig Nobel Peace Prize, is planned to be released for iPhone in summer 2010, Tokyo-based Index Corporation announced. The latest BowLingual will have Twitter support, by which dog owners can send what their puppy says to the world directly on iPhone."
"Google and Microsoft are paying roughly $.03 for every 1,000 tweets." Somebody overpaid!
I have an idea for an essay that connects new services Twitter Lists and Gawker Forums. In one sense, these are merely extensions of tagging and folksonomies popularized by Flickr and Delicious. But there's something else going on here: tagging not just as taxonomy but as content generation.
But I don't have time to write this essay, so someone please do it for me.
(See also: Twitter, Outlines, Lists, Directories, Y!ou.)
For those who miss the days of Mondo 2000 (helllooooo ouuuut theeeerrrreeee), there's this: h+. The cover story about Dollhouse is spazzy old-skool good.
Microsoft is donating money for every person who gets the fuck off of IE6. That's my kind of charity.
Bruce Sterling keynote: "At the Dawn of the Augmented Reality Industry." He thinks it's the most exciting thing happening in tech today.
Top 6 Augmented Reality Mobile Apps. These are all pretty cool/futuristic. And if they all port over to that supposed iTablet....
There are probably a thousand new linkable Mad Men links out there today, but let's just go with this one: The Tech of Mad Men, from Gizmodo. Includes the photocopier, the typewriter, the slide projector, and of course the electrocizer, or whatever they ended up calling it.
A great collection of Google Street View images. Burning houses in Arkansas, guys with guns in South Dakota, hookers in Italy, kids flipping off the camera in Belfast, and much more.
I hope the economy recovers soon enough for everyone to have guilt-free lust for the hypothetical new iTablet. Lam: "To me, this is where Star Trek starts, and War Games ends." Update: reports came in throughout the day that it will be is a 2010 launch, so maybe you should consider a Kindle after all.
Facebook buying Friendfeed is like cloning yourself, not feeding it for a few years, and then eating it.
Have you noticed that we seem to have more "inside leaks" about the reported Apple tablet than any product in that company's history? (Another one today.) I see three potential explanations: 1) There's a new squeaky wheel inside Apple. 2) It's the kind of product that more people need to see, so the risk is greater. 3) They're intentionally leaking it from the inside.
I'm betting it's the last one. This is Apple's way of placing a subliminal suggestion in your noggin that says, "You don't need a Kindle just yet."
Founder of Loopt on Charlie Rose last night. Nicely articulate, and I love Charlie's weird questions.
Nicholson Baker, who as you remember really liked Wikipedia, isn't so much into the Kindle. Somewhat counter-intuitively, he suggest that reading on the iPhone might be better. Which is good news for Apple, because they're probably releasing a tablet by Christmas. Update: Edward Champion thought to make the same comparison and debunks Baker.
Look at Anil trying to get in on that name coinage industry! (Hey, everything needs a little marketing.)
In his first question, Al Franken asks Sotomayor about Net Neutrality in yesterday's Supreme Court nomination hearing.
My pals Peter and Ryan have been sorta soft launching GDGT, a social gadget site. Veronica explains it, but best of all, pronounces it (twice, differently). Hopefully this is a sign that smart content people are finally pushing beyond the depressing "launch another blog" strategy that has plagued the increasingly stagnant online publishing world.
Gmail Ninja Tips. I didn't know some of these, such as that you can sign out remotely or that you can add "+anything" to your address (email@example.com) and it works like your normal address.
The Netflix Prize has finally been conquered. The two top teams combined their efforts to accomplish it.
NYT computer superbrain thing covers Singularity, Terminator Salvation, Ray Kurzweil, Kevin Kelly, Arthur C. Clarke, Google, Moore's Law, and some other stuff.
WolframAlpha launched. (If you need catching up, here's a screencast explanation.) It looks like fun to play with so far, but it's hard to understand its depth... Update: decent On The Media story on it too.
I've had a ton of problems with Owen's version of Valleywag over the past 8 months or so, during which the site's mission seemed to transform from debunking myth and undermining power to creating myth and toppling success. But his exit note reads like something that I actually would have liked reading, if it only existed: an instrument for investigating the Valley's groupthink. See also: Bloggasm exit interview.
Why text messages are limited to 160 characters. Answer: some goddamn German engineer, of course!
NYT: Amazon to announce a large-screen Kindle as early as this week. The story also adds additional speculation about a large-screen iPhone later this year.
For the cognitive psychologists out there: Why Minds Are Not Like Computers. It's long and heady, and it took me at least five subway rides to finish, but it's also insightful for anyone interested in brain/computer stuff.
This will accidentally sound like one of those indignant bloggers ranting about "the msm," but tonight's 60 Minutes on computer viruses was exceptionally shoddy work. This isn't the place to enumerate all the problems with the segment (I'm sure they'll soon appear online), but briefly: 1) Conficker isn't the danger it's made out to be, 2) the descriptions of how websites give you viruses is ridiculously vague and bordering on lying, 3) the entire segment sounds like it was meant to scare old people, and 4) the over-use of a Symantec rep as a source was pure craziness.
Not to get all hopeful, but could this be the first sign of an economic bounce-back? Sales Increased 10% in Quarter for Best Buy.
Somebody's gotta say it... I don't get Boxee. It's all interface... it's not content... it's not making a better experience, it's making a worse one... it's the new Joost... it's the old Miro... I have no idea why nerds are rallying around it. Someone please explain.
After owning it for six days, my Kindle was stolen in Austin. Bad timing, cuz Jacob Weisberg says it's gonna change the world.
Microsoft's vision of the future is interface porn, and it looks about as fun to live in as Vanilla Sky. [via]
On cell phones during the inauguration: "I found myself wondering if any technology might replace the camera now that it is more essential today than television -- and constantly with us."
This thing could be amazing: Google Mobile App for iPhone, now with Voice Search. Markoff's story has it arriving last Friday, but TechCrunch says it launches tomorrow. (See also: Gimodo's list of 20 Essential iPhone Apps.)
For reasons related to security, legality, and efficiency, Barry Obama may have to cease using his beloved BlackBerry.
Technology Review is bringing the tech think pieces lately! Wikipedia and the Meaning of Truth.
I have a Slingbox that I never use (mostly because it's still not available on the iPhone), but this looks interesting enough to maybe plug it back in: Sling.com [beta], which allows one to view and edit video from your DVR through a browser. [via]
New Media in Fiction: Will There Ever Be an "iPhone Novel"? "I think the absence of technology in literature is worth investigating... Many contemporary novelists do away with any mentions of mobile phones and email, even when it seems implausible." Lots of good stuff in there, including this LAT piece that I missed: Remember movies before the cellphone?
Twitter is now getting regular attention in NYT: Technology Doesn't Dumb Us Down. It Frees Our Minds. See also: Clay Shirky's Web 2.0 keynote on information overload.
The Economist notes a cybernetics study involving a sociology classic, the prisoner's dilemma. The gist: people trust robots who look like humans. But how human? No mention of the uncanny valley.
Engadget has pics of the upcoming Android-powered HTC phone, Dream. Could it be the iPhone competitor that isn't the ugly corporate toy know as Blackberry?
The uncanny valley has been leaped: Lifelike animation heralds new era for computer games. Watch the video. It's a real person. [via]
I had an idea for an iPhone app last night. If someone makes it and sells it for $1, they will be millionaires.
I suspect this quiet funding round for CrowdFusion is going to fly under the radar for a while, but it will be something to watch.
Factoids to impress doctor friends at dinner parties: If not for the Beatles, we wouldn't have CAT scans.
My pal Aaron reviews the new location-based iPhone social networking apps -- Limbo, iFob, Whrrl, Twitterrific, and Loopt. It seems inevitable that one of those (probably the last one) is going to be as big as Twitter by the end of the year. Maybe.
The earth will soon run out of gallium, zinc, and copper. Valleywag says: "There's only one proper capitalist response to the situation: Clear those three spots on the periodic table, and replace them with ads."
iPhone! iPhone! iPhone! iPhone! iPhone! iPhone! iPhone! (It's less than two weeks away. They hype will only accelerate from this point on.)
Everyone saw the CNET bailout coming, but I don't know anyone who was betting on CBS to buy. $1.8 billion ain't that bad, actually.
Last weekend I was trying to quickly organize dinner with some friends. I decided to try calling them. When no one answered, I realized how embarrassed I was to leave a voicemail. I'm not alone on this feeling that phone calls are jarring to daily life, but it makes me wonder something else... will we eventually come around to a new type of super-connected gadget that can do everything except make phone calls?
Raise your hand if you ever walk by a Starbucks with your iPhone and get bounced to that stupid annoying T-Mobile HotSpot login page. Fuck that thing, right? Mac Rumors is reporting that AT&T hotspots in Barnes and Noble, Starbucks, and 71,000 other WiFi locations are becoming FREE. (It works with laptops too if you spoof the user-agent.)
Listen people, I get a lot of email too. Probably something like 500 missives per day. But this really isn't that difficult to fend off. Let me help... Tactic #1: Delete unnecessary items as they come in. Tactic #2: Reply to items when you have free time in elevators, meetings, subways, etc. Tactic #3: Don't leave work until you're down to five items. Tactic #4: Stop writing about how much email you get. Done.
People sometimes ask me what it was like to work on the Microsoft campus, and I usually say "Did you ever see Kid Nation?" And then I say that there actually are a lot of cool products being developed, but most of them will never see the light of day. One of them that I first saw a long time ago, Clearflow, which attempts to help you avoid traffic jams, has made it out of captivity, says a NYT story. It's being released on Live Maps.
So a judge ruled yesterday that Facebook must defend itself against the charge of stealing the initial code for the site. I suspect this won't go much further, but I could be wrong -- and if I am, doesn't this somehow remind of you of the Microsoft antitrust case of the '90s?
If you didn't already reach the same conclusion, let me tell you... Silicon Alley Insider is the best tech blog out there right now (even forgiving their overwrought penchant for list-making). BizWeek even thinks Henry Blodget has redeemed himself.
Hahah, I completely forgot this was even happening: the DOJ has approved the XM / Sirius merger.
Damn, and I was just going to buy one of those $5000 massage chairs. Sharper Image Files for Bankruptcy.
You can put all of the world's information and disinformation (aka Wikipedia) onto your iPhone with this app. It's 2.2 GB, but because the new iPhone has 16 GB, this shouldn't be a problem. In other news, all those T-Mobile pink hotspot stickers will disappear soon -- AT&T is taking over Starbucks' WiFi access. And since I'm obsessed about all-things-mobile this morning, how about a tour of the new Gphone? Uninspired.
Everyone has been making jokes about how Steve Jobs pulled a MacBook Air out of a manila envelope at Macworld, so big-ups to whoever designed a laptop case that in fact looks like a manila envelope.
Snarkmarket points to the interesting paper The Rules of Beeping. Beeping? It's effectively poking with a cell phone. Poking? That's pinging via Facebook. Pinging? Oh, nevermind -- beeping is calling someone's cell phone, letting it ring once, and hanging up. Who would do this? People who have limited cell phone minutes who just need to send a binary signal.
Michael Wolff writes about the media industry the way I talk about it -- spastic, condescending, and full-of-himself (myself). His newest Vanity Fair column, Generals, Gadgets, and Guerrillas, coughs its way through an evisceration of everyone from cable companies to record labels, landing on a strange planet where -- hahahah ha -- the Google Phone triumphs over the iPhone. Get this: "Google's gadget will, undoubtedly, and counter-intuitively, seek to pull the rug out from under Apple, countering Apple's closed system by offering an open-access world, one where anything is permissible -- alongside Google ads -- and thereby achieve super-dominance for itself." Sure, I guess.
Wired recently launched Geekipedia. It lacks depth but the pitch is what really makes it work: "Wikipedia doesn't distinguish 'need to know' from 'didja know?' -- and it's lousy for browsing. That's why we created Wired Geekipedia. Godwin's law, Guitar Hero, Gates Foundation -- you may know their definitions, but we tell you what they really mean."
If you bought an iPhone last month and you are now annoyed because they're $200 cheaper, then take a look at this thread of people who have demanded credit and gotten it. (Btw, anyone want a "vintage" 4GB iPhone? Cheap!) UPDATE: Steve Jobs officially offers $100 store credit.
Nick's first story for Wired: How to Tweak Your iPhone to Impress Buddies, Mom, and the Boss. True story: I read it on the plane minutes after I had changed my iPhone wallpaper.
American Airlines is adding internet access. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like you'll just be able to get a wifi signal on your laptop, so the future isn't quite here yet.
A few days ago, I took a picture of a "iPod Amnesty Bin" at Zune HQ. It has since exploded as a blogosphere item. Weird how that happens. Update: lookie there, it's now an InfoWorld and PC World story too.
Discover magazine set up an experiment in which a couple IM bots chat with each other. I actually wrote a program that did this very thing several years ago, but it looks like the language models have advanced a bit since then.
When people talk about desktop applications moving online, the counter-example is always Photoshop, which almost everyone feels would be impossible to move to a browser experience. Well, apparently everyone except Adobe.
Even better than that Tower Records sale, can you imagine what you'll find in the CompUSA sale now that half of its stores are closing?
A View of the Future. "Nokia has released a number of short videos that explore how mobile phone design may change in the next three or four years."
Fascinating story about how Apple kept the iPhone a secret, involving fake prototypes and keeping it secreted away from Cingular/Google/Yahoo until it was announced.
Some good unanswered questions from the iPhone announcement, especially the last one that asks: since it's running OSX, could you run Apache on it? Which makes the mind do backflips -- server in your pocket? UPDATE: Engadget answers some questions with bad news.
This NYT story on new portable devices pretty much states that Apple will be announcing an iPhone this week, which means I'm already getting some of my predictions wrong. UPDATE from the comments: Red Herring says it ain't happening.
Did you know that Daylight Savings will be extended by 4 weeks in 2007? This will create havoc with those of you using Windows Mobile.