Possibly inspired by Al Gore, Apple announces a new iTunes U app, textbooks for iBooks 2.0, and iBooks Author, so you can create your own interactive books.
Act One of this week's This American Life finds Mike Daisey, self-described worshipper in the Cult of Mac, visiting Foxconn, where many of their products are manufactured. It's an incredibly well told and heartbreaking story. [more inside]
A leaked memo by India's Military Intelligence indicates they eavesdropped on a U.S. government department (USCC) that reports to congress on "the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship [between the U.S. and China]" using "lawful intercept" backdoors provided to the Indian government by Apple, RIM, and Nokia. (previously) [more inside]
"“Out of the crooked timber of humanity,” Kant wrote, “no straight thing was ever made.” Not even an iPad." "[A]ll the credit you give Steve Jobs for the ecstasy must be equal to the blame for the agony." Gary Sernovitz on Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs (previously), and Mike Daisey's The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. [via]
"Because we don't know how to make a wheel that is still generally useful for legitimate wheel applications but useless to bad guys."
Cory Doctorow's 28C3 talk The Coming War on General Purpose Computation (abstract, transcript) warns that "the coming century will be dominated by war against the general purpose computer, and the stakes are the freedom, fortune and privacy of the entire human race." [more inside]
Didn't get that Apple product you wanted for Christmas? Jonathan Mann, with the help of Twitter, composed a song for you: WTF?! I wanted an iPhone! If that doesn't quite rock your world, Mann composes and performs a song a day, so there ought to be something you like.
Jack Goldman died this month. Mac? Windows? X11? You may think of visionaries who shaped technology as you know it. You might imagine that they were the original thinkers or visionary businessmen. You're wrong. The guy who laid the foundations started out trying to invent the electric car at Ford, before being hired to Xerox creating the legendary PARC labs that invented computing as we know it; he lived to see his prediction that "...any electric car produced in our lifetime will have to be a hybrid" come true.
In 1985, Apple started the "Apple University Consortium Europe" collaboration program, and one of the first universities to enroll was that of Lund, Sweden. To celebrate the collaboration, Apple CEO Steve Jobs came to Lund - and a 16 minute film of his visit has now been found and been made available by the University of Lund. You can see the clip here (.mov).
Apple has adopted new tactics in its patent war against the handheld industry. Last summer, Apple has transferred patents to the patent troll Digitude Innovations, using a shell company operated by Digitude's primary investor, Altitude Capital Partners. In December, Digitude filed suit with the International Trade Commission alleging patent infringement by almost every mobile manufacturers except Apple. (pdf filing) [more inside]
"The PC is dead. Rising numbers of mobile, lightweight, cloud-centric devices [represent] an unprecedented shift of power from end users and software developers on the one hand, to operating system vendors on the other ... This is a little for the better, and much for the worse." - Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard Law Professor (via battellemedia.com) [more inside]
Graphic designer Susan Kare was responsible for much of the look of the original Mac operating system. Now, you can take a peek inside the notebook where she sketched out on graph paper the icons for cut and paste. (previously)
As the encore for their 12th annual moe.down Festival in Mohawk, NY, the band members of the festival's namesake, moe., paid tribute to the recently-deceased Steve Jobs by performing their song Crab Eyes ... entirely on iPads. [more inside]
Sixth grader codes iOS apps, gives TED talks, and - generally - makes me feel like I've been lazy my entire life.
lululemon athletica, the "yoga-inspired athletic apparel company", has rapidly become a brand fixture in the Pacific Northwest since its founding by Chip Wilson in 1998. Recently, a strange ode to Ayn Rand appeared on their website, and a "Who Is John Galt?" advertising campaign has adorned company packaging this November. Meanwhile, one of their employees has been convicted in the bizarre murder of a co-worker, in which the employees of a neighbouring Apple Store ignored the victim's cries for help.
What touchscreens lack is something called affordance. It’s a lofty term for an object’s built-in ability to tell you how it works. A doorknob affords turning. The button on a car stereo affords pushing. A touchscreen affords nothing. It relies on software for any affordance, which in turn relies on total immersion for the user.... The days of analog affordance are gone. What we want, apparently, is to surround ourselves with touchscreens of varying size—tiny ones in our pockets, medium-size models for our laps and dashboards, and massive versions for our walls. We want tomorrow’s vintage shops to be lined with identical, blank, anonymous slabs. We want things to be vessels for software, and nothing more. - A Slate piece asks if touchscreens are becoming too ubiquitous
The New York Times have published the eulogy Mona Simpson delivered for her brother Steve Jobs at his funeral, which includes his last words. Now it you'll excuse me, I think I have something in my eye...
Walter Isaacson, author of a just-released authorized biography of Steve Jobs, talks to Steve Croft of 60 Minutes [single-page view] about his brilliant, mercurial, often difficult subject.
The iPod turns 10 Today marks the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the iPod. Touted in a low-key presentation as a player that would let you carry 1000 (!) songs in a player the size of a pack of cards (!), the 1st gen model didn't really impress techies (or mefi), though consumers quickly fell for the stylish white and stainless player. In the ensuing years, Apple kept plugging away at new models, and today, few even remember that Apple was late to this game. (previously)
Why are computer voices mostly female? Apple's 1987 vision of a computerized personal assistant was originally male. Siri's voice is female in the US and Australia, but male in the UK and France. [more inside]
The Great Tech War of 2012: Apple v. Google v. Amazon v. Facebook
"What kind of a**hole enters his game in the IGF before it’s done and then decides to delay release for 2 years?" The creator of Monaco discusses the philosophy of one or two buttons in gaming. His answer: None. (NSF People who don't like Penny Arcade.)
Another mind numbing tumblr blog- shit siri says. Apparently Apple Purposely Gave Siri Some Attitude. Here is a cnet demo of siri on youtube.
Did Dropping Acid Make Steve Jobs More Creative? Awkwardly omitted from his many obituaries, Steve Jobs said that "doing LSD was one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life." Was his experience (portrayed in this reenactment) the source of his creativity?
In 1987 Apple predicted a complex language voice assistant built into something called the Apple Knowledge Navigator, a tablet computer. With today's announcement of the refined (and integrated) version of Siri, it appears they were less than a month off.
In a New York Times op-ed called "You Love Your iPhone. Literally." branding consultant Martin Lindstrom says that his fMRI experiments show that iPhone users' brains "responded to the sound of their phones as they would respond to the presence or proximity of a girlfriend, boyfriend or family member ... they loved their iPhones." The piece has drawn intense criticism from neuroscientists, who have called it "complete crap", "terrible, terrible", and "truly hideous".
Mike Daisey, monologuist, author and gadfly, will be streaming the live performance of his 24 hour monologue, All Hours of the Day, from 6 PM PST today until 6 PM PST tomorrow. He remains cagey about what precisely the show is about, but early reports indicate that bacon will be involved. [more inside]
Microsoft announced today that Internet Explorer 10, part of Windows 8 and a massive UI and structural redesign, will come in two flavors: a desktop app that will continue "to fully support all plug-ins and extensions, " and the flagship version intended for touchscreen devices called Metro, which will be as "HTML5-only as possible, and plug-in free". Specifically, Metro won't support Adobe Flash. [more inside]
The Shrine of Apple--a (sill in progress) archive of photos and specs for Apple's complete product history.
Suck on it Applesoft. "Everyone was baffled when Google made those crazy bids for the Nortel patents last month. Remember? They bid things like the distance from the earth to the sun, the number pi, and some other wacky numbers from mathematics." [more inside]
When Brandon left for camp, his last words were, "stay out of my room!" Unfortunately for Brandon, he has the
meanest most awesome family in the entire world. [more inside]
How a Security Researcher Discovered the Apple Battery ‘Hack’ - How to destroy Hardware with Software.
Blogger BirdAboard discovers not one, but three fake Apple stores in Kunming, China.
Although Apple's OS X operating system is making inroads with power users, providing Apple style and usability over a FreeBSD-derived UNIX-certified architecture, many find the built-in terminal emulator sadly lacking both UNIX feel and Apple polish. Fortunately, MeFi's own jewzilla has picked up the ball on the most popular third-party Terminal replacement, iTerm, and rolled out something altogether new and wonderful: iTerm2. [via mefi projects]
The US Secret Service has raided the home of an artist who collected images from webcams in a New York Apple store. The tumblr is still up, as is a explanation of the project by the artist at F.A.T.
Video of Steve Jobs discussing iCloud and other current Apple products, at the 1997 WWDC. Yes, 1997. Via Daring Fireball.
Final Cut Pro backlash. Two months ago, Apple previewed the new 64-bit version of its popular professional video editing application, completely re-written and re-designed with loads of new, revolutionary features, an iMovie-like interface, and a deep price cut. Excitement and anticipation abounded. On Tuesday, it was released, and the excitement has been completely reversed. Unfortunately, as Apple typically does with all-new products, they left out a lot of features that users particularly needed (including backwards compatibility), and simultaneously killed the previous version, causing an unprecedented amount of confusion and anger in a matter of hours. Many people felt left in the lurch, others felt that Apple had abandoned the pro market without telling anyone, and still others prescribed patience.
Who owns the term "app store"? Apple wants to, but Amazon and Microsoft, among others, think it is generic. Will Steve Jobs's own words come to haunt him? In any case, the first casualty of the fight between giants seems to be Amahi, a small open-source media server. [more inside]
Is Apple bypassing the Web? Maybe so, and the inventor of the Web's fears are one step closer to being realized.
It used to be called "Sherlocking". British student Greg Hughes' Wi-fi Sync application was rejected by the Apple App Store for security reasons. Undeterred, he sold it on the Cydia store for jailbroken iPhone apps. At WWDC on Monday, IOS 5 was unveiled, with the latest iteration of the iPhone operating system offering Twitter integration, a built-in to do list, an adless longform reader... and Wi-fi sync. [more inside]
Apple says app developers are covered under license, Lodsys' patent infringement claims are invalid Macworld has more.