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Shit Worth Reading: May 31st, 2012
Shit Worth Reading: May 31st, 2012
05/31/12 at 03:31 PM by Jason Tate
I've got a quick moment before I begin tackling the never ending barrage of emails that I have to answer -- so here's a few things around the internet that I found interesting, and think you should take a look at.

Thursday Discussion: Songs For The Graduating Class
Check out this week's Thursday discussion. I did it for all the graduates this month. - JT
Quotebook for iPhone and iPad
The app syncs quotes between the iPhone and iPad using iCloud, which I love. For me this app would be used just as much for capturing song ideas and lyrics as it would for quotes.
Be careful who you listen to
In other words, on Twitter and Facebook, we become who we follow. Or perhaps more accurately, we envy who we follow. The big problem with this is that none of us are really who we portray ourselves to be online. We are all the better, happier, more successful versions of ourselves.
D10 Video: Tim Cook session highlights
Tim Cook learned a lot from Steve Jobs, and one of the big takeaways seems to be: Don’t tip your hand. The Apple CEO was unwilling to tackle questions about any future product plans during his first appearance on the D10 stage Wednesday night.
Nest thermostat available from the Apple Store
A very nice Apple-like product.
The EFF: ‘Apple’s Crystal Prison and the Future of Open Platforms’
The whole room-and-board analogy is not a good one, so let’s stop stretching it. But my point is that people choose to buy an iPhone. No one chooses to go to prison. And if you happen to be in a situation where you’re “forced” to use an iPhone or iPad (by your school or work, say), it’s highly unlikely that any alternative platform they might have issued you would be any less locked down.
Skype’s future isn’t too bright
However, its position at the top isn’t cemented. There are dozens of upstarts who want to eat into Skype’s future growth.
It's Coming.

Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs Movie Probably Won’t Be “Cradle To Grave” Biography
So before Sorkin has gone through this process (and before the screenplay goes through the rewriting that’s endemic to Hollywood) it’s hard to know exactly what the film will be about. He did say that he probably won’t follow the “cradle-to-grave structure” that’s common to most biographies. Instead, he’s “going to identify the point of friction that appeals to me and dramatize that.” (It doesn’t sound like Sorkin has chosen that “point of friction” yet, though I’d imagine that it will either be the founding of Apple and/or Jobs’ return in the 1990s.)

Sorkin also said that he hesitated before taking on the project, because it’s “a little like writing about the Beatles.” In other words, Jobs is admired by so many people that they will end up questioning every choice that Sorkin makes: “I just saw a minefield of disappointment.”
Death To The Dock Connector? Apple Is Looking For A Connector Design Engineer
Even without this job posting, it’s pretty much accepted that the Dock Connector is nearing the end of its life. Even though there are better options, it will still be sorely missed. Just think of all the iDevice docks that will fall silent when their owners upgrade to the latest hardware — well, unless, Apple releases a pricey Dock Connector to Mini Dock Connector adapter.
Want To Be Like Steve Jobs? Well It’s Probably Not Going To Happen, Says BFF Larry Ellison
“He wasn’t trying to be rich,” Ellison went on, “Apple became one of the most valuable companies on earth and it wasn’t even one of Steve’s goals. Steve was always talking about products. He was a creative artist, engineer and entrepreneur unlike anyone else,” he mused, relaying an anecdote about how when Apple passed Oracle in market cap, Steve called up and joked with him about how CEOs in Silicon Valley measure their manhood in market cap. “He noticed [success]and he was proud of it but it wasn’t a motivator at all.”
Collected Videos of Late Apple Co-Founder Steve Jobs at D, Now Free on iTunes
In these onstage conversations, Jobs explained his — and Apple’s — evolving philosophy of where the digital world was heading, and of business itself. He discussed competitors, controversies and his own sense of what matters most. He stressed the importance of building products for their actual users, not “orifices,” like corporate IT departments or cellphone carriers. He explained why it was often more important to decide what products and features not to build than to pick the ones that were built. He even appeared jointly in a historic conversation with his lifelong rival, Bill Gates.

Now I know what I'm going to do in the background of work in the next few days. - JT
★ Let’s Have Some Fun Reading Way Too Much Into the Preliminary Schedule for WWDC 2012
This implies not just that Apple will be announcing new stuff (duh, it’s WWDC), but new stuff that will fill the biggest room in the building with two-and-a-half days worth of sessions.
Unconventional Learning with iPad, Mac, and iPod touch
Apple products have become an essential part of how students learn at Flitch Green Academy, a public elementary/middle school located just outside of London. Flitch Green’s unique approach is taught through open-ended “experiences” where students use iPad, Mac, and iPod touch, alongside more traditional media, to work on cross-curricular learning projects.
Once Deemed Evil, Google Now Embraces "Paid Inclusion"
Back when Google was an upstart search engine, one way it distinguished itself was to fight against a pay-to-play business model called “paid inclusion.” Indeed, paid inclusion was one of the original sins Google listed as part of its “Don’t Be Evil” creed. But these days, Google seems comfortable with paid inclusion, raising potential concerns for publishers and searchers alike.
→ Sweep the Sleaze
Or do you seriously think that in ten years we will still have those buttons on every page? No, right? Why, because you already know as a user that they’re not that great. So why not get rid of them now? Because “they’re not doing any harm”? Are you sure?

This is a very interesting argument. - JT

→ WWDC app may be showing a new UIKit iPhone theme for iOS 6
Cult of Mac posted screenshots of the WWDC app. The same visual style is also in the purported iOS 6 Maps photos.

I’d love to see a modern refresh of the iPhone UIKit widget styling. The blue-gradient style doesn’t look bad, but it does look dated. It was probably designed in 2006, and it shows.
→ Tim Cook at the D Conference: Between the Lines
Great article from Dan Frommer on the not-very-subtle hints that Tim Cook dropped last night.

Within a year, I’d expect an Apple TV set, Facebook integration in iOS 6 and Mountain Lion, and the cancellation of iAd and Ping. (It wouldn’t surprise me to see iAd canceled as soon as iOS 6’s release.)
How big can the Internet get: Exabytes? Zottabytes?
Over at Gigaom, Stacey Higginbotham highlights this chart on the monstrous growth of the Internet. According to Cisco, the world is on pace to generate 1.3 zettabytes of data by 2015. That’s four times the amount created in 2011 and it’s the equivalent of “more than 38 million DVDs streamed in an hour.”
Mitt Romney officially clinched the Republican nomination
Mitt Romney Tuesday night claimed his win in the Texas primary gives him the requisite number of delegates to clinch the Republican presidential nomination.
Americans in their prime working years haven't seen much of a recovery.
"The proportion of Americans in their prime working years who have jobs is smaller than it has been at any time in the 23 years before the recession, according to federal statistics, reflecting the profound and lasting effects that the downturn has had on the nation’s economic prospects. By this measure, the jobs situation has improved little in recent years. The percentage of workers between the ages of 25 and 54 who have jobs now stands at 75.7 percent, just a percentage point over what it was at the downturn’s worst, according to federal statistics. Before the recession the proportion hovered at 80 percent...While the unemployment rate may be the most closely watched gauge of the economy in the presidential campaign, this measure of prime-age workers captures more of the ongoing turbulence in the job market. It reflects 'missing workers' who have stopped looking for work and aren’t included in the unemployment rate."
Spain is inching closer to a bailout.
Spain’s economic problems are deepening, pushing the country closer to an international bailout that U.S. and European officials worry could destabilize the global economy. The risk that the euro zone’s fourth-largest country may need a massive dose of outside help is forcing the region’s leaders to accelerate weighty decisions they had expected to consider over time. These include deciding whether the euro-zone countries should begin issuing bonds that they all jointly back, a step that would be aimed at reassuring investors skittish about lending money to troubled governments such as Spain’s...The release Tuesday of discouraging figures on Spain’s retail sales and exports further contributed to the sense of the country’s fragility. And the resignation of Spain’s central bank head, a month ahead of schedule, highlighted the struggle to fix long-standing problems in the country’s financial sector.
Spending caps are the wrong way to do deficit reduction
A good illustration of how to do future deficit reduction the wrong way is the Sustainable Growth Rate formula for Medicare, which was enacted in 1997 to constrain payments to doctors. The SGR places a broad cap on payments without addressing any of the reasons those payments are increasing...This same cap-and-punt approach is at the heart of several bills that the House Budget Committee is addressing this week. Two of these, the Spending Control Act and the Balancing Our Obligations for the Long Term Act, would impose a cap on total government spending as a share of gross domestic product, plus a number of other caps on specific areas of spending. These are meant to be enforced through automatic across-the-board spending cuts (with some specific areas exempted). Like the SGR, the acts under consideration by the House Budget Committee avoid the hard work of making specific policy changes.
A drug company tweaked the FDA bill on generics
One of the few bills moving through Congress with bipartisan support this spring would speed government approval of lower-cost generic copies of brand-name drugs. But one company, with help from an influential former congressman, is lobbying to protect its most lucrative brand-name product against generic competition and appears to have had some success in the House, potentially altering the bill to make it more favorable for the company...Republicans working on the legislation said that Mr. Nordwind had submitted proposed legislative language to the committee. Democrats said they thought it was tilted against generic drug makers. Congressional aides eventually negotiated a compromise. The language ultimately included in the House bill was prepared by Mr. Upton’s staff, working with the Democrats, and requires the F.D.A. to develop new ways of measuring the equivalence of 'locally acting' generic and brand-name medicines, with the help of the fees to be paid by the generic-drug makers.
The House will vote this week on banning sex-selective abortions.
The House will vote this week on legislation imposing criminal penalties on anyone performing an abortion based on the sex of the child, but the measure runs the risk of failing on the floor because of how the GOP is calling it up. Republican leaders have scheduled a vote on H.R. 3541, the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), under a suspension of House rules, which will require a two-thirds majority vote for passage. Suspension votes are usually reserved for non-controversial bills, but Republican leaders have occasionally used the process for bills that Democrats oppose, and the PRENDA bill appears to be one of those. Democratic opposition to the bill began with its original name, the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Non-discrimination Act. Democrats argued in February that while the bill was named after these civil rights heroes, it has nothing to do with protecting civil rights.
Are IPOs good at creating jobs?
“There are still lots of hot three-year-old technology companies raising huge amounts of equity and using it to hire loads of people. They’re just doing it in the private markets rather than the public markets,” explains Felix Salmon, who flagged this chart earlier. By contrast, he continues, IPOs have simply become “financial tools used by financial professionals to make money”— a way for a company to cash out and pay back some of its early investors (along with its owners and employees.
Europe’s a mess, but it’s meeting its climate goals
Note that the United Kingdom and Germany are the leaders here. That’s typically ascribed to two factors. Germany saw a huge one-time drop in emissions after reunification, since a bunch of inefficient power plants and factories in the East closed down. The United Kingdom, meanwhile, made a massive switch from coal to electric gas in the 1990s after its electricity industry was privatized. That helped, because those two countries are still Europe’s biggest emitters. But neither of those events are likely to repeat themselves.
Fiscal Phonies
Both Mr. Ryan and Mr. Romney, then, are fake deficit hawks. And the evidence for their fakery isn’t just their bad arithmetic; it’s the fact that for all their alleged deep concern over budget gaps, that concern isn’t sufficient to induce them to give up anything — anything at all — that they and their financial backers want. They’re willing to snatch food from the mouths of babes (literally, via cuts in crucial nutritional aid programs), but that’s a positive from their point of view — the social safety net, says Mr. Ryan, should not become “a hammock that lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency and complacency.” Maintaining low taxes on profits and capital gains, and indeed cutting those taxes further, are, however, sacrosanct.
Q&A: Sam Harris
I think there’s a range of human experience that is attested to by religion that is very positive and interesting and worth exploring. It’s possible to feel overwhelming love for all sentient beings and an overwhelming gratitude for being here in this moment, and to no longer feel separate from the universe. You’re riding around in your head looking at the world that is other than what you are, and that disappears. It’s around that phenomenology that you get ejaculations of the sort that created our religious literature. So, you have a Jesus who speaks like Jesus, and a Buddha who speaks like Buddha, and then you have their followers. And not all of the religious traditions are equipped to conceptually deal with that experience or to guide people toward it. And some are more or less cluttered with obviously crazy superstition and mythology. Religious dogmatism is the only dogmatism that gives someone a rationale not only to kill themselves and kill others but to celebrate the deaths of their children. I mean, this is the only thing that’s going to let you send your child out to clear a minefield happily.
Link: JCPenney’s Gay Fathers Day Ad
In what appears to be a direct response to the failed boycott campaign of anti-gay group One Million Moms, JCPenney yesterday unveiled a new Father’s Day ad featuring a same-sex couple playing with their children.

I like what Ron Johnson’s doing at JCPenney. I just wish it were working better.
Capturing Community

I haven't read this yet, it's sitting here to tackle after the other books on my list ... but the author did a brief interview with me in there, if you're at all curious. Flipping open to around page 40, I saw this line about our community: "because AbsolutePunk has gained a reputation ... musicians and other trendsetters in the industry actually use the online community directly to break news, premiere songs, and share album art prior to the record release date." Kinda cool to see that in print. I'll post more thoughts, comments, expand on any argument I made (and see if I can find my actual quotes), once I have some time to read this. - JT
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