A decade ago, four young men changed the way the world works. They did this not with laws or guns or money but with software: they had radical, disruptive ideas, which they turned into code, which they released on the Internet for free. These four men, not one of whom finished college, laid the foundations for much of the digital-media environment we currently inhabit. Then, for all intents and purposes, they vanished.
“If the terrorists have won, it’s because we’re so decent that we’d rather subject ourselves to radiation and humiliation than treat a Muslim as a second class person. And that’s something to be proud of. I don’t think you can say the terrorists have won when we ought to be proud of the way we have responded to the whole thing.”—Jeff Miller
"At the moment, for example, we are sitting on 5GB from Bank of America, one of the executive’s hard drives," Assange told the technology site Computer World in an article published on October 9, 2009.
The Wikileaks chief continued: “Now how do we present that? It’s a difficult problem. We could just dump it all into one giant Zip file, but we know for a fact that has limited impact. To have impact, it needs to be easy for people to dive in and search it and get something out of it.”
“Clearly, clearly, the endgame—insofar as there’s ever an endgame, it’s all a process—is for you to pay some fee, so you can have the whole magazine online, the archives online and God knows whatever else,” Remnick said at a breakfast hosted in late May by Conde Nast. Remnick certainly wasn’t shy about going to war with Steve Jobs at that breakfast. When he was asked whether it would be a problem if Jobs wanted to censor something on The New Yorker for the iPad, Remnick did not back down.
“We’re going to publish what we publish,” said Remnick. “If the Pentagon can’t talk us out of a story, then Apple in Cupertino isn’t going to throw me off.” But at least for the moment, it appears Jobs does have the power to keep the magazine off the iPad.
“We all know about the proverbial million monkeys at a million typewriters eventually reproducing the complete works of Shakespeare. Well, those monkeys are hard at work — only there are billions of them — and they are as a group exponentially more ingenious and productive than even the most elite of the Old Guard. Every second they produce brilliance which you could never hope to find. In the Curation Nation, the genius will surface. And we’ll all forget why we watched NBC in the first place.”—Bob Garfield
I hit “like” (or a heart, or a star, or a WHATEVER) on any item I run across on any site on the internet and it gets compiled into a wishlist registry somewhere in the magical world of servers and tubes.
Then somebody else (my mom, my bf, my 1st grade teacher, my WHATEVER) types in my name, the list magically appears and they see the millions of gift possibilities available.
Prices low and high. Obscure. Necessary. Edible. Wearable. WHATEVER.
Preferably all this without anyone having to sign up for a website. And it would have to include a list of online discount codes and free shipping alerts.
You can add an amazon wishlist bookmark to your browser bookmark bar and click it when you are on any page, it will add it to your amazon wishlist that you can share with anyone.
There’s an opportunity for someone to create a more bespoke version of this, but the Amazon option does exist.
“Don’t worry about it. You should see what we say about you.”—An unidentified foreign official, speaking with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she tried to do damage control over the release of secret diplomatic cables that described many foreign officials in blunt terms. (via officialssay)
Emerging tech site VatorNews has an unconfirmed report this morning that the search giant bought deal-of-the-day site Groupon for $2.5 billion. Neither Groupon nor Google have commented on the report at the time of this writing.
The source seems a bit dodgy. I’m going to keep an eye out for reports from more legitimate outlets.
More on the source: Site reporting the Groupon sale is run by Bambi Francisco, formerly columnist at MarketWatch. She has managed Vator.tv full time since 2007
A curious thing happened on Friday, something that probably went unnoticed by most Americans, either because they were just waking up from their food comas and heading to the malls to do their part in helping corporate America pile on to its already record-setting profits, or else because the average American would never notice (much less consider it curious) that a relatively obscure Wall Street hedge fund got hit with redemption requests from its investors totaling about 40% of the fund.
And what made it so curious for me, I guess, was the fact that we spend a lot of time in this country talking about wealth concentration, about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, and about how the national share of after-tax income of the top 1% of earners has doubled over the last four decades from 7% to an absolutely staggering 14% of total income among all US households. And yet in all of these statistics, and throughout all of this hemming and hawing about whether or not we should be crying rivers for all those poor saps just trying to make ends meet in Manhattan on a measly $250k, I’ve never seen an illustration quite as symbolic as this.
But first some perspective: consider the story of Salomon Brothers, the investment bank profiled in Michael Lewis’ 1989 exposé Liar’s Poker, and consider the enormous financial success it enjoyed as the only shop in town with an established mortgage bond trading desk in the fall of ‘81, the moment when Congress unwittingly invented the mortgage-backed securities market by passing a tax break intended to help the struggling savings and loan thrifts but which resulted in a wild speculative frenzy, in the unparalleled leveraging of American banks and taxpayers, and in the creation of an untold number of complex financial instruments with bizarre sounding names like “collateralized mortgage obligations” that were minting money for the few people who could understand them until the party got busted up when the market lost 22% on one October monday in 1987 and American taxpayers were left on the hook to the tune of a $124 billion bailout to clean up the mess created by institutions like Home State, Midwest Federal, and Lincoln Savings and Loan.
In 1987 Salomon Brothers controlled $3.5 billion in capital.
Fast-forward a couple of decades: the American economy is reeling from a banking crisis brought on, in large part, by an ‘04 SEC ruling lifting the debt cap on investment banks, resulting in a wild speculative frenzy, in the unparalleled leveraging of American banks and taxpayers, and in the creation of an untold number of complex financial instruments with bizarre sounding names like “collateralized debt obligations” that were minting money for the few people who could understand them until the party got busted up when subprime mortgages all across the country started going bad and and American taxpayers were left on the hook to the tune of a $700 billion bailout to clean up the mess created by institutions like AIG, Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, and Lehman Brothers.
And that’s not the end of the happy coincidences.
Because here we are, it’s 25 years later, Michael Lewis has published yet another exposé profiling yet another Wall Street antihero—Steve Eisman this time, the hedge fund manager who stands in relation to 2007-08’s subprime market as Lewis Ranieri did to mortgage bonds in the 80s, Eisman being one of the few investors who went short on the housing bubble when the rest of Wall Street was going long, and as a result one of the few fund managers to make a killing when the market bottomed out—and it was this antihero whose hedge fund—FrontPoint—got hit with those redemption requests on Friday. And it’s important to note that FrontPoint is a comparatively quaint little shop: it doesn’t register on anyone’s top 100 lists and it only weighs in at about a tenth the size of JPMorgan, which makes it all seem perfectly reasonable that nobody would notice—much less consider it very remarkable—that this fund saw 40% of its ledger vanish on Friday.
So then why is that 40% so remarkable? Because that 40% is equivalent to $3 billion. Or put another way: little old FrontPoint had 40% of its fund withdrawn and it’s still sitting on as much inflation-adjusted cash as Salomon boasted in its heyday.
The Ipad 2 will have almost every feature that people said should be on the first Ipad but which Apple refused to provide. These include the ability to run on various carriers, two cameras located on either side of the tablet and a switch from Apple’s proprietary connection to mini-USB. Of course it will not have Flash so it will not be able to use half of the Internet, but Apple fanbois are used to being told what to do. The current generation of iPads use an aluminum frame, which adds weight to the gadget. Carbon fiber would make the case lighter and stronger, and it would allow for improved Wi-Fi and mobile broadband reception.
No more using the SlingPlayer iPhone app on my iPad like I did in the past. The new SlingPlayer for iPad app is out and it is indeed live, high-quality video iPad-optimized. Love it. And just in time for Thanksgiving to show the fam.
There aren’t many iPad apps I’d pay thirty bucks for. This is one of them and it’s worth every penny.
Suzanne Vega’s song “Tom’s Diner” was used as the reference track in an early trial of the MP3 compression system, earning her the distinction of being the Mother of the MP3. It was chosen because her a cappella vocal with relatively little reverberation was used as the model for Karlheinz Brandenburg’s compression algorithm. Brandenburg heard “Tom’s Diner” on a radio playing the song. He was excited and at first convinced it would be “nearly impossible to compress this warm a cappella voice.”
Love it when the internet just goes ahead and blows you away with the random information you happen to stumble upon. Actually, I didn’t randomly stumble upon this information. Sometimes I begin humming a few notes, not really understanding where they’re coming from but humming them regardless. Pretty soon the notes connect to the thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of songs I’ve listened to over the years, the songs I’ve loved and hated and even felt much of nothing. This time I thought about the Psychedelic Furs song “Pretty in Pink” and I began listening to the soundtrack, trying to calm my nerves after an eventful afternoon. Vega is featured on the album, and although not that familiar with her music, I know the big hits. In my mind, the big hits are usually the ones least interesting and yet “Tom’s Diner” provides this strange, magnificent little anecdote one feels compelled to share.
“This plugin lets you write two headlines for each post and have them presented at random to readers. The plugin records how often each version of the headline has been clicked and, once it has enough data, swaps full-time to the most effective one.”