Way too much smoke gathering for there not to be some kind of fire. The real question: just how far along is this project?
Steve Jobs telling Walter Isaacson, “I finally cracked it” sure sounds promising. But in the 60 Minutes episode about the biography, Isaacson notes that the one area Jobs would have liked to transform was television — indicating that it may not happen. Of course, Isaacson could have just phrased it that way since Jobs unfortunately will not be around when the transformation happens.
Hardware and software are one thing. Apple will eventually get to where they need to be on those, no question. The true question is the content. An Apple television is great. An Apple television that transforms the television landscape in the same way that Apple transformed the mobile phone landscape is what we really need.
If Apple can’t get there, this may be just another project being worked on at Apple that doesn’t see the light of day. But Jobs’ comment and all this smoke sure seem to suggest otherwise.
I have no doubt that Apple could build a perfect television but I don’t know if they can acquire the content rights to make it worthwhile, that’s a big hurdle that costs a lot of money. Netflix learned this the hard way. The music industry wound up being transformed by iTunes, can Apple transform the movie and television industry the same way?
New York Times : The Obama administration on Friday took another step toward allowing BP to return to the Gulf of Mexico, approving the first oil drilling plan for the company there since the explosion that sank the Deepwater Horizon rig more than a year ago.
“No one, least of all me, is suggesting that running a newspaper company is a piece of cake. But the people in the industry who are content to slide people out of the back of the truck until it runs out of gas not only don’t deserve tens of millions in bonuses, they don’t deserve jobs.”—
David Carr gives media execs who lay off workers while lavishing bonuses on themselves the SMACKDOWN. Worth a read. (via cmonstah)
This is a really important point that doesn’t get made enough: A lot of big media’s wounds are self-inflicted. To take an example from one truck that ran out of gas, the total compensation for the top 15 people (combined business and editorial) at Newsweek in 2009 (the year it lost $30 million) was more than the entire budget for the Newsweek.com Website.
“Jobs said that the past twelve years of his life, since his return to Apple, had been the most productive in terms of creating new products. But his more important goal, he said, was to do what Hewlett and his friend David Packard had done, which was create a company that was so imbued with innovative creativity that it would outlive them.”—Walter Issacson
Since returning from Afghanistan last week, I’ve been worried about a debt past due. What do I mean? Well, there’s a small story here, and it’s about this website and the other social media tools that we have been using to push news alongside the daily bread at the NYT. And the background is below:
I tried that evening to talk about Afghanistan and the U.S, military’s “surge” there. And as I did, Benjamin, with an uncanny nose for news, repeatedly interrupted to grill me about WikiLeaks and how the NYT might cover the organization and its activities more fully. (What he didn’t know was that the NYT, at that very time, was quietly sorting and examining a huge dump from WikiLeaks, which was why I was in the city, pitching in. Or that my green backpack, literally under the table between us, was crammed with printouts of leaked cables that I was to read that night ahead of the next day’s meetings.)
I must have visibly flubbed my answers, because after playfully smacking me around for half the meal, Benjamin then gently suggested — again, an uncanny read — that I get my head around social media. I’m a field reporter. I knew next to nothing about social media. And I told him so. He seemed amused. So he invited me in, suggesting that as Simon & Schuster was about to publish THE GUN, maybe I should catch up with ways to communicate the things I did know something about, like munitions, tactics, the Afghan war, and the like.
Fast forward a few weeks. Benjamin pitched a trade. I lagged behind in social media skills, he said, but since I run a fishing boat out of Rhode Island when I am in the states, and use it to harvest a fair percentage of my family’s annual protein intake, I did have a set of hands that was good at something he was very interested in: hauling fish. He offered a deal. He and his fellow Barbarians would fix me up on-line, and I would get them out and put them on a run of fish. (Handshake goes here.)
The first part of the agreement went smoothly. I hopped a train from New England to the city, and watched as Benjamin and Noah and Colin jumped on-line simultaneously one morning, bearding as me, and set up these accounts. Then they jotted down all the passwords inside the back cover of Joshua Foust’s Afghanistan Journal, which I was reading, and said, more or less: Drive.
Which I did.
The truth is I do not drive very well. I am still learning my way. Take Twitter: Often when I view the Twitter pages that Twitter recommends that I follow, or view someone’s Twitter feed, I end following those pages — whether or not I intend to. This leads to a lot of turbulence in the follow list. And I can’t tell you how many times I have half-written a tumblr post only to have it disappear before I hit “Create post.” Poof. Gone. (It happened to an earlier draft of this post. Twice.) Same thing happens to me now and then on Facebook. These problems have all been amplified in recent weeks by my full switch from the Windows world to Apple devices, which has me fumbling around even more than before as I learn new keystrokes and the touch-screen world.
But I’m trying, and somehow, on the journalism side —the reason these sites interest me — we found a way to talk with more readers this year, and we broke a bit of news on social media, too. More importantly, we learned how to provide more art, detail, and context to accompany stories, blog posts or short videos on www.nytimes.com. And many sources have found me here, and become part of my work. What all of that means is that these social-media outlets, on the best days, became worth their while. It’s still a work in progress, but the Barbarians get points for having me here at all, and improving my journalism.
And that brings us to that debt.
More than a year has passed and I haven’t made good on my side. Part of it has been travel. I’ve been gone much more than I have been home, due to Libya and Afghanistan. And the last hurricane wiped out the last plan. The Barbarians and I had picked a date and were just about to fish, but the hurricane bore down from the south and I had to haul the boat. Then I went overseas again. Twice.
But now we’re due to try again soon, which caused me a bit of worry these past days.
Why? Because one of the secrets to fishing well is to fish often, and steadily. It’s like much else: the more you do it, the better you get. This is especially true with migratory saltwater fish on the open ocean; being out there often is key, because you have to stay on top of the conditions and the fish to know where to head each time you leave the dock. To balance work and harvesting, I fish a lot at night. But that doesn’t cover for an absence. And as I returned home, and the date for the Barbarian’s next try drew near, I’d been gone from the dock more than five weeks, which meant I’d lost the feel I had for where things were when I left. Worse, I arrived home to winds honking up to 30 knots or more for several days, churning the water brown and keeping me ashore, where I watched trees twist and the weeds in the garden lay down flat.
Then came the break. Today was Sunday, and it turned calm. One of my sons and I managed to get out and scout. We found a mess of birds and beneath them a mess of fish, including the bluefish at the top of this post, or below.
So, Benjamin, Colin and Noah, check your iCalendars, start watching the tides, and get here soon. The fall fish migration won’t last too much longer, and I’m headed back out before long. In a few quick weeks these fish will be gone until late spring, when they rush back with the light. The time is now, or sometime very soon. After weeks chewing the Afghan fare, I’m hungry for more fresh meat. Let’s bloody the decks, and settle up.
(Now, I’ll invoke that handshake and restate the terms. If the schedule and the weather do not line up, worry not. Some things are worth waiting for, and there is no expiry date.)
The top earners are paying significantly less in taxes than the bottom earners. To spell that out in terms the person who made this sign clearly cannot understand, the government decided that the people who are making 350x more than the average earner should not have to pay more taxes.
They should pay less because conservatives believe that the money they save on taxes will be pumped back into the economy, and here’s the coincidence, and you’re not going to believe this: since those tax breaks have been put into place, the country has fallen further and further into debt.
THAT’S SO WEIRD. You mean these people aren’t showering the poor with their money, but they’re putting it in off-shore bank accounts and stocks? I would have never guessed that would happen.
“Imagine, if you will, someone who read only the Wall Street Journal editorial page between 2000 and 2011, and someone in the same period who read only the collected columns of Paul Krugman. Which reader would have been better informed about the realities of the current economic crisis? The answer, I think, should give us pause. Can it be that our enemies were right?”—David Frum : Krugman was right, I was wrong about the economy
Grab five to ten minutes here or there, at the right time and the right place, to complete a massive task no one person could do on his or her own. That’s exactly what a new startup called Gigwalk is trying to do, using the power of– you guessed it– the iPhone. You download the app, enter your PayPal information and get assigned entry level “gigs” or jobs that may take just a few minutes at a time, if you’re in the right location.
“Listen to the god damn intro you wrote. “Don’t take that as a knock on Manhattan, which is doing just fine. But for the first time since, well, ever, you can spend every New York minute of your trip on the far side of the East River and never feel like you’re missing out.” Oh. Jesus fuck. I am reading an email from my mom, which has been published in GQ magazine. I was under the impression that that is what I was reading. The editors of GQ magazine have somehow inadvertently been forwarded an email from my mother, and through a series of unlikely mistakes they have copied the text of this email and used it as the intro paragraph for a feature story. That, to me, seems to be the most likely explanation, for this. You continue: “Here’s how to explore the place where everything’s happening before it’s happening.” Oh. Christ the lord. Brooklyn, where everything’s happening before it’s happening.”—Hamilton Nolan
He called Jonathan Ive, Apple’s design chief, his “spiritual partner” at Apple. He told Isaacson that Ive had “more operation power” at Apple than anyone besides Jobs himself — that there’s no one at the company who can tell Ive what to do. That, says Jobs, is “the way I set it up.”
The company was founded in the nineteenth century when a German immigrant named Paul Julius Reuter trained a flock of carrier pigeons to shuttle business headlines between Paris and London. A century and a half later, everyone knows the company, Freeland says. “Remember that horrible episode when there was this woman who said she had been raped in Libya by Qaddafi’s guys?” she asks a bit giddily. “And she escaped and she ran into the hotel and said, ‘I want to talk to someone from the New York Times and Reuters?’ ”
Freeland, along with Reuters editor-in-chief Stephen Adler, is leading the effort to transform the fusty wire service into “the world’s greatest and most influential news organization”—and beat out upstart Bloomberg for the title. (“They are certainly a competitor,” Freeland says diplomatically.)