In January, the always-excellent “This American Life” had a really stunning episode turned over almost entirely to an excerpt of a monologue by Mike Daisey, about working conditions at Foxconn, the Chinese company that manufactures products for Apple, among other companies. Daisey actually went to China, to the factory, and interviewed people about what it was like to work for Foxconn. What he learned was really bad—it made both Apple and Foxconn look just awful. Marketplace’s China correspondent found that the story just didn’t jibe with his own knowledge, so he investigated Daisey’s reporting, tracking down Daisey’s interpreter. It turns out Daisey lied. A lot. About crucial facts. Daisey’s defense? “It’s not journalism, it’s theater.” Lame. →
I’ve never been thrilled with the Dow as an indicator of the health of the economy (just thirty companies are factored in, using some pretty crude calculations), but Adam Nash has done the math on one facet of why it’s lousy. Famously, in 2009, Dow Jones dropped GM, and added Cisco to the DJIA instead of Apple. According to Nash (I’m not smart enough to be able to duplicate his math, so I’m trusting him here), if that decision had gone the other way, on Monday the DJIA would have closed at $14,926 instead of $12,874. That’s more than a $2,000 difference. →
- Cult of Mac: How the Editor of Windows Magazine Became an Apple Fanboy
A lot of us Mac users started off as hardcore DOS/Windows fans.
- Wikipedia: Full moon names
There are special names to refer to the full moon in every month. August's is the "grain moon," April's 's the "egg moon," February's is the "snow moon," etc. Different cultures have different names. Then there's a "blue moon," which once referred to a fourth full moon in a given season, but has come to refer to a second full moon in a given month; either occurs every 2.7 years.
- The Guardian: Paris gets its first 24-hour baguette dispenser
The machine stores partially cooked baguettes and, upon the insertion of €1, it spits out a hot, fresh(ish) baguette.
- Los Angeles Times: Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles belies its name
Two member of the famed chorus have come out as straight. To the credit of the chorus, they have been very accepting.
- asymco: If Cash is King, Apple’s is an Emperor
If Apple didn't take in another dime, their current cash on hand is enough to keep them in business until 2018.
- L.A. Times: Teen succeeds where Army fails in recording Arlington graves
17-year-old Ricky Gilleland has accomplished what the military has been incapable of doing—creating a digital record of all Afghanistan and Iraq veterans buried at Arlington National Cemetery. That's because this sort of thing isn't really very hard. The trick is just shutting up and doing what needs doing.
- AirTunes for video, to stream video to my TV from my computer.
- iTunes for DVDs, so I can rip my DVDs like CDs and store them on my hard drive, to eliminate the shiny silver discs in boxes that I have to keep up with.
That is all.
As I watched mobile phones become tinier from 1996-2006, I wondered what the endpoint would be. Some were so comically small as to be useless to anybody over the age of 40. Would we eventually be depositing them directly into our ears?, we wondered. And then along came the iPhone. It’s on the larger end of phones on the market today. But it does way more than most other phones. And thus came this realization: Technologies will shrink indefinitely, but products will adopt more technologies to maintain the smallest practical size. In two years, when the technological components of the iPhone would allow it to be half of its current size, it will come to incorporate a projector, video camera, and other delights that only Jonathan Ives can predict.
This is why I love Apple: the next version of their OS will have (almost) no new features—they’re just going to streamline the current version. They promise to make it require less hard drive space, make it require less RAM, and the whole affair will be faster than the current version. This is precisely the opposite of the approach taken by every other software company under the sun. Given that they’re also a hardware company — they’re in the business of selling people newer, zippier computers — this is a particularly impressive move on Apple’s part. The speculation is that the upgrade will run $29, which I think is a reasonable price. It comes out in a year.