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Shit Worth Reading: May 14th, 2012
Shit Worth Reading: May 14th, 2012
05/14/12 at 12:09 PM by Jason Tate
Ok, time to pull together some more cool shit around the internet I think is worth reading. After this I'll be transcribing the interview with Brian Fallon and getting some quotes up from that on the site - it's a damn good one.

The Macalope Weekly
Apple may like to think that they own silver, but they don’t. In no way did HP try to mimic Apple. In life there are a lot of similarities.

“In life there are a lot of similarities.” You are deep, Stacy. Or just really stoned.

There are particularly a lot of similarities if you’re, you know, copying someone else. In that instance, there a tons of similarities. Life sure is funny with its startling and completely natural similarities.

Hilarious destruction of the "ultrabooks". - JT
The Coming Meltdown in College Education & Why The Economy Won’t Get Better Any Time Soon
At some point potential students will realize that they can’t flip their student loans for a job in 4 years. In fact they will realize that college may be the option for fun and entertainment, but not for education. Prices for traditional higher education will skyrocket so high over the next several years that potential students will start to make their way to non accredited institutions.
Is it time to stop writing headlines that end in question marks?
Betteridge’s point is that if a story had enough proof and citations, the headline would be assertive.
Small App Developer, Welcome To Your Hell
Kim-Mai Cutler caught up with Hong Kong mobile app developer Animoca and notes that they test against 400 different Android devices. And they’d do even more — but many are no longer for sale.
iPhone was Japan's best-selling smartphone in 2011
It’s just too bad “the Japanese hate the iPhone”.
Facebook IPO Spin: Dueling Stories
My sources say that the road show is a bit slow and investors don’t like some of what they’re seeing. In particular, the massive move users seem to be making to mobile.
HP to Reenter Tablet Market with Windows 8
Microsoft is the latest entrant into the tablet market since Apple reinvented the segment, banking on its Windows 8 products to bridge the gap between PCs and tablets. The company showed off Windows 8 last September and earlier this year revealed its plans for bringing Windows to ARM processors in a further effort to blur the lines between desktop and mobile. HP, the world's largest PC manufacturer, could play a key role in working to spread Windows to the tablet market, but it remains to be seen whether Microsoft will have success with its efforts.
★ iOS Low-Hanging Fruit
iOS has evolved in a fairly predictable manner over the years. Apple has done a good job tackling the lowest-hanging fruit on the to-do list, year after year. They crossed off a lot of big obvious features over the first few years: third-party apps, cut-copy-paste, enterprise support, push notifications, better multitasking. Last year brought a few more: over-the-air software updates, cloud-based backups and wireless syncing, and a much improved notification interface.
Google’s iPhone App Gets An Overhaul Before Android? Strange.
Today’s update, then, is at least promising. Everything has been overhauled, UI-wise, including fonts, photos, the homescreen, visual elements, gradients – you name it. Perusing the screenshots, I’m actually going to give this one a shot, if only to see how well the Google iOS devs and designers have been sharpening their skills.
Move Over Harvard And MIT, Stanford Has The Real “Revolution In Education”
So, last week, two Stanford professors made a courageous proposal to ditch lectures in the medical school. “For most of the 20th century, lectures provided an efficient way to transfer knowledge, But in an era with a perfect video-delivery platform — one that serves up billions of YouTube views and millions of TED Talks on such things as technology, entertainment, and design — why would anyone waste precious class time on a lecture?,” write Associate Medical School dean, Charles Prober and business professor, Chip Heath, in The New England Journal of Medicine. Instead, they call for an embrace of the “flipped” classroom, where students review Khan Academy’s YouTube lectures at home and solve problems alongside professors in the classroom. Students seem to love the idea: when Stanford piloted the flipped classroom in a Biochemistry course, attendance ballooned from roughly 30% to 80%.
Bing’s Biggest Redesign Yet Puts Pure Algorithmic Results Up Front, Sticks Context and Social In The Sidebar
Microsoft is looking to take advantage of public discontent with Google recent missteps in design and social. Bing aims to frame Google as impure, with its desire to highlight Google+ distorting the quality of search result ranking. If it works it could claw market share away from Google and make search a real two-horse race. The rollout will reach the U.S. over the next few weeks, then the world, but you can sign up here for early access to the new Bing (and unfortunately its newsletter too).
Facebook Adds “Good Enough” File Sharing To All Groups. Dropbox Should Worry About Growth
Last month, the social network started letting users share files within Groups for Schools, but now we confirmed with Facebook that within a few days all Facebook users should have the option to upload and share files from the Groups post composer.
Apple Jumps to #17 in Fortune 500 Rankings
Overall, Exxon Mobil ($453 billion in revenue) surged to barely overtake Wal-Mart ($447 billion) in the race for the top spot in the Fortune 500.
Oh Yay, More Google+ Crap In My Life
Great products are not forced on users. Google’s a little more like Microsoft every day.
Rumored $200–250 7-inch iPad “on track for October”
If this 7” iPad is real, maybe it has a 1024x768 resolution, yielding a logically 512x384 area, in half of the 10” iPad’s screen area. Effectively, it’d be the iPad 3’s screen cut in half. (Then apps could keep a consistent scale for interface elements, which would make development a lot easier.)
John Paczkowski Confirms New iOS Maps App

Why I don’t have comments on my site
Hi, I’m Marco, Apple-cult member and Instapaper author.

I have no idea what actual software development is like, although I’ve worked full-time as a software engineer for the last 8 years since graduating from college with a computer science degree. I’ve only been working full-time in the closed box of Objective C for the last year and a half — before that, I coded full-time in real languages.

I’ve never visited the Core Data hand-holding playground, but it sounds fun. Instead, the Instapaper app’s database layer is written directly against SQLite’s C API. The server-side code is all in PHP, and before moving to the sugar coated painted kingdom, I spent 4 years writing the PHP back-end code to a little site to handle thousands of dynamic requests per second. Before that, I wrote enterprise search software in C.

Nice to meet you. I’m sorry our cult makes you so upset. I hope you can find happiness.
"Envy Spectre XT Ultrabook"
I don’t mean to be a dick, but whoever came up with this name should be fired.

Sorry, the committee that clearly came up with this name should be fired.

Actually, spare the innocents. Whoever approved this name for marketing purposes should be fired. Does someone at HP really think that consumers are going to see this name and think: WANT?
DVDs and Blu-Rays Will Soon Carry Two Unskippable Government Warnings
So to encourage people not to engage in piracy, they’re going to force everyone to watch yet another annoying, time-wasting, gratification-delaying warning screen that can only be avoided by engaging in piracy. They’re purposefully making the movie-playing experience worse for honest paying customers.
Paul Thurrott: ‘Is Time Running Out for Windows Phone?’
I’m as concerned, in a way, with what is very clearly yet another do-over. Yes, Windows Phone 8 will retain the Windows Phone name, and yes, it will run “legacy” Windows Phone 7.x apps, those apps that were written in Silverlight or the game-centric XNA APIs. But with Silverlight and XNA both silently cancelled deep within Microsoft’s ever-reimagined corporate hulk, the move to a variation of WinRT means that Windows Phone is starting over again. That mean more work for developers who, let’s face it, haven’t really had much incentive to adopt this platform in the first place.
President Obama Endorses Same-Sex Marriage
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York said, “No American president has ever supported a major expansion of civil rights that has not ultimately been adopted by the American people, and I have no doubt that this will be no exception.”
Asa Dotzler Objects to Windows on ARM Locking Out Competing Web Browsers
In other words, Microsoft is setting policies for Windows for ARM that are a lot like Apple’s policies for iOS. These policies and restrictions make just as much sense for Microsoft as they do for Apple. The problem for Microsoft, as Dotzler points out in the comments on his piece, is that Microsoft has made antitrust agreements that seemingly preclude such restrictions.

Serious question: What if Windows 8 for ARM, instead of being called “Windows RT”, were instead called, say, “Metro OS”? Would that make a difference? Is Dotzler arguing that Microsoft should not be permitted to ship a version of Windows that locks out third-party browsers, or that Microsoft should not be permitted to ship any OS that locks out third-party browsers?
Mac App Store Paid Upgrades: How Apple Should Fix a Broken Model
I completely agree that the App Store needs paid upgrades. I also think we’re past the point where we could say that this is just something that Apple has not tackled yet but they’ll get to it eventually. It’s been too long.
Support for Gay Marriage Outweighs Opposition in Polls
President Obama's decision to endorse same-sex marriage undoubtedly entails some political risk, but recent polls suggest that public opinion is increasingly on his side.
Gay Marriage and the Democratic Base
One clear rationale for President Obama's new position? It's very unusual for a president to oppose the majority of voters in his party on a major issue, and 60 percent of Democrats support gay marriage.
The Search for the Elusive Exploding Cigar
Well, believe it if you want to. The differences betwen the two stories start with how Obama was in middle school, while Romney was 18. Obama was responding to peer pressure in the moment -- a pretty common kind of pressure, kids making fun of each other for "liking" other kids in class -- while, according to Horowitz, Romney was the field marshall behind the premeditated scissor prank. Laubner is dead, but told people that the hazing bothered him. Corretta, real name Joella Edwards, was found by David Remnick and later did a TV interview about Obama.
The politics of gay marriage has moved very, very fast
In 2004, the conventional wisdom was that John Kerry lost in part because Republicans supercharged evangelical turnout using gay marriage ballot initiatives and in part because Democrats needed candidates who seemed, in some hard-to-define way, more tough and “American.” No more French-speaking windsurfers.
Google’s self-driving car: Is this the next generation of autos?
It’s sooner than you may think. In a Wall Street Journal article last month, Anthony Levandowski, who heads up software and sensor development for the cars, said that he expects that the cars will be sale-ready “much sooner than the next decade. If not, shame on us as engineers.”
The emergency room is not health insurance
As for the care that patients receive in an emergency room, it’s not always free.Gold recently looked at a hospital that has been chasing after one low-income patient for a $1,800 bill for prenatal care. That patient currently has $1.25 in her bank account. The New York Times has also probed the aggressive tactics used by hospitals to recoup unpaid bills.
Nathaniel Frank on why Obama's opinion matters to gays.

Obama’s evolution doesn’t necessarily change the law or the election. But it matters.
Emily Bazelon argues that President Obama's position was actually trailing his administration's legal strategy. They had long ago made the unusual choice to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act in the courts. That is to say, they had stopped defending a law that pits the federal government against states that choose to to allow same-sex marriage. This largely predicted Obama's evolution on the underlying policy issue -- he personally supports gay marriage, but thinks that the actual decisions should be left up to the states.
The House will vote today on a plan to cut health-care spending rather than defense.
The House is expected to vote Thursday on a Republican plan that would spare the Pentagon from the deep across-the-board spending cuts envisioned as part of last summer’s debt-ceiling agreement, reviving what has been an emotional debate in Washington about the best ways to reduce the federal budget deficit. With a series of troubling end-of-year deadlines looming, Republicans are proposing to replace the first round of $110 billion in reductions, which are set to take effect in January. The cuts are a first-year down payment on $1.2 trillion in reductions spread over 10 years, which were to be split evenly between the military and domestic programs. To forestall the defense hit, the GOP proposal would cut funding for food stamps, eliminate key pieces of the federal health-care law and slash funding designed to help the government better monitor the financial sector.
Polarization is largely attributable to Republicans
Look no further than Senator Richard Lugar’s concession statement Tuesday night, which showed, in its wan effort to make the two parties sound equivalently extreme, just how much further the Republican Party has gone...Whether the Republican Party is 'the problem' is a subjective judgment. Perhaps you loathe taxes and, in the face of all available evidence, consider global warming a hoax. In that case, the Republican Party is doing exactly what it should be doing. But there is simply no denying that the Republican Party has gone much further right than the Democratic Party has gone left, and that, from policy pledges to primary challenges, it has done much more to discourage its members from compromising than the Democratic Party has. So if you think polarization is the main problem in Washington today, then Mann and Ornstein are right: Your beef is largely with the Republicans.
The search for better standardized tests.
Critics of testing habitually protest its cost, implying that the millions spent on assessment would be better put toward smaller class sizes, expanded library hours, or the restoration of art and gym. But despite testing’s huge and growing role in education, the U.S. now devotes less than a quarter of a percent of per-pupil spending to assessments. That’s less than the cost of buying each of America’s students a new textbook. The American education system is at a major crossroads, one that few Americans are aware of. The new assessments--the product of a huge investment of time, knowledge, and talent--are only two years away from being put in place, and they’re desperately needed. It’s too early to know whether they will work as advertised, and even if they do, the danger is that states will quickly revert to their old habits of doing assessment on the cheap. But if we do this right, we could finally provide educators like Caryn Voskuil with one of the tools they need most: a test worth teaching to.
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