How can we talk about who’s “winning” if we can’t agree on what “winning” is? In case you hadn’t noticed, the gadget business isn’t all that much like Formula One racing, Yahtzee or curling. There are no rules; there aren’t any well-defined opposing forces; the battle has no beginning or end. And zero-sum thinking — the assumption that one company doing well hurts another, or that all companies are even playing the same game — is often out of whack with reality.
I didn’t realize until just now that sanity is, in fact compatible with discussion of gadgets. This changes everything.
Kidding aside: the childish black vs. white, oppressively binary way of thinking that so pervades tech journalism is more than a nerdy fanboy phenomenon. Our entire culture operates this way. We hate ambiguity. We loathe nuance. We think people are either Americans or Terrorists. If a movie makes money, it’s good; if a movie makes money, it’s bad. And so on. Nearly every human judgment is artificially constrained within an infantile boolean-only logical system.
Anyway, let’s get back to what we do best. Reality TV: cultural feces, or The Literature Of Our Age? (Hint: feces.)
I’ve recently started learning Python, and in the process I’ve become a huge fan of a Python coding environment for iOS called Pythonista. It allows one to actually run scripts on an iPhone or an iPad, and given the fact that it has a great URL scheme, some really cool things are possible.
I decided last night that I’d try to create a means with which to easily send myself reminders on my iOS devices, using a Pythonista script and Drafts. The script takes minimal textual input from Drafts in the form of a note on one line and an interval of time (in minutes) on the second line. I fire a Drafts action, and that’s it. At the appointed time, I’ll receive a native iOS notification containing my reminder.
I find it really handy: there’s no need to fumble with Reminders.app, set a date and time, etc. And it’s also far, far quicker than trying to set a timer in Clock.app.
If you have both Drafts and Pythonista on your device(s), give it a shot. The relevant code, the Drafts URL action, and more can be found in my post on the Pythonista user forums.
UPDATE, July 18, 2013 9:56 PM: Version 1.1 tweaks the script to add an audio notification upon successful creation of a new reminder.
Here’s Jesus Christ, Silicon Valley on Google Glass:
I have to admit that my initial reaction upon seeing a pair was indeed one of childlike wonder. As in, “I wonder what will happen if I kick this guy in the nuts?”
The answer to that childlike question: there would be a POV video of your foot striking his oysters. That video would be on Google+. No human being would ever see that video. But lots of Google’s servers would see that video, and would run ads for athletic cups directly on the retinas of douchebags wearing Google Glass.
And the cycle repeats.
Until a Douchebag Singularity results in a giant, swirling black hole in which douche is infinitely dense.
Google’s ex-CEO and current Official Sayer of Stupidities Eric Schmidt thinks paying taxes in Great Britain is for plebeian shitmunchers.
Mr Schmidt defended his company’s practice, suggesting that its contribution to the UK economy was more important than the tax it paid to the Exchequer. “We are investing heavily in Britain,” he said. “We power literally billions of pounds of start-ups through advertising networks and so forth, and we’re a key part of the electronic commerce expansion of Britain, which is driving a lot of economic growth for the country. So from our perspective, I think, you have to look at it in a totality.
And then the asshat decides to add this little bon mot:
The people we employ in Britain are certainly paying British taxes, and more importantly, they’re British citizens and they’re driving a lot of GDP.
This sort of thing is easy enough to get away with in the United States, since our Congress is a wholly owned subsidiary of Whoever Has $1, but that bird may not soar so gracefully on the other side of the pond.
You can’t get Facebook Home on your iPhone. But very soon you’ll be able to get one of the most buzzed-about features from Facebook’s new mobile software: “Chat Heads” are coming to iOS devices, via a Facebook app update.
Awesome. Now I finally know for sure that I want to delete this app.
Check out this excerpt from a “DEA Intelligence Note”:
On February 21, 2013, the DEA San Jose Resident Office (SJRO) learned that text messages sent via iMessages® [sic] between Apple products (iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch® [sic], and iMac®) are not captured by pen register, trap and trace devices, or Title III interceptions. iMessages between two Apple devices are considered encrypted communication and cannot be intercepted, regardless of the cell phone service provider.
One’s imagination instantly leaps to images of thousands of petty criminals and drug dealers tossing their “burners” in the trash, and then queuing up at the Apple store for an iPod Touch. And then texting C|NET to thank them for the tip.
Google, on Blink:
WebKit is a lightweight yet powerful rendering engine that emerged out of KHTML in 2001. Its flexibility, performance and thoughtful design made it the obvious choice for Chromium’s rendering engine back when we started. Thanks to the hard work by all in the community, WebKit has thrived and kept pace with the web platform’s growing capabilities since then. […] However, Chromium uses a different multi-process architecture than other WebKit-based browsers, and supporting multiple architectures over the years has led to increasing complexity for both the WebKit and Chromium projects. This has slowed down the collective pace of innovation – so today, we are introducing Blink, a new open source rendering engine based on WebKit.
Mozilla, on Servo:
Mozilla’s mission is about advancing the Web as a platform for all. At Mozilla Research, we’re supporting this mission by experimenting with what’s next when it comes to the core technology powering the Web browser. We need to be prepared to take advantage of tomorrow’s faster, multi-core, heterogeneous computing architectures. That’s why we’ve recently begun collaborating with Samsung on an advanced technology Web browser engine called Servo.
Oh, thank every god! More rendering engines is exactly what the world needs. I do so enjoy testing every Web page I build in 78 different browsers. Now I can test every page in 674 different browsers! Huzzah!
What is with that stupid little dot? Is Facebook an elaborate hoax designed to test the depths of our tolerance for willful mediocrity?