Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Quick bitz

State Backing Films Says Cannibal Is Deal-Breaker, NY Times:
The easy money is not quite so easy any more. Among the states that began underwriting film and television production with heavy subsidies over the past half-decade — 44 states had some sort of incentives by last year, 28 of them involving tax credits — at least a handful are giving new scrutiny to a question that was politely overlooked in the early excitement: What kind of films are taxpayers paying for? [more]

Secret Confessions of a Social Network Rejecter, by Andrew G. Rosen, Social Times:
You’d be hard-pressed to find a 30-year-old American who is not connected on at least one social network. While on vacation a few weeks ago, I came across that man. A dinosaur among men. Below is a brief Q&A on why a seemingly “normal” person would choose to turn their back on a digital revolution that is being embraced by the masses. I anticipate a healthy debate in the comments section below. [more]

Gulf Oil Spill: What Obama Is Overlooking, by Dan Froomkin, The Huffington Post (via CommonDreams.org):
As a result, some marine scientists worry that Obama is basing his conclusions on what's visible, and doesn't really get, even now, just how bad things really are in the Gulf.

Heightening that concern is Obama's new conviction, first expressed Monday afternoon after touring a staging facility in Alabama, that "in the end, I am confident that we're going to be able to leave the Gulf Coast in better shape than it was before."

That is a "ridiculous statement, and worrying," said Susan Shaw, the director of the Marine Environmental Research Institute. "Obviously he has no idea of the consequences, or doesn't want to." [more]

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Two bitz

For better or for worse, companies spend millions to try and put a human face on. But let us face the truth: It's all a pretense. Corporations have no humanity. They are machines, driven by profits and guided by cost-benefit analyses.

Can You Look Her in the iPad? by Nick Harding, The Independent/UK (via CommonDreams.org):
Although many technology firms have strict codes of conduct for suppliers, these incidents should have set alarm bells ringing for ethical consumers. Instead of concern however, Apple devotees still queued overnight last month to be the first iPad owners before being whooped to the tills by enthusiastic sales staff. No one in this consumer carnival mentioned overworked, poisoned Chinese factory drones.

Rig Survivors: BP Ordered Shortcut on Day of Blast, by Scott Bronstein and Wayne Drash, CNN (via CommonDreams.org):
The BP official wanted workers to replace heavy mud, used to keep the well's pressure down, with lighter seawater to help speed a process that was costing an estimated $750,000 a day and was already running five weeks late, rig survivors told CNN. BP won the argument, said Doug Brown, the rig's chief mechanic. "He basically said, 'Well, this is how it's gonna be.' "

Monday, June 7, 2010

Apple misses the boat

I took Novella to the Apple store yesterday to get a demo of iPad. I was thinking of it as a possible replacement for the notebook she now hunches over, squinting at her email and doing some Googling.

The first thing the store rep tells us: "This isn't a replacement for a PC. You still have to have a PC in order to use the iPad. So don't get rid of that notebook."

That's not a problem in this household, with no less than four working PCs. But I think Apple missed the boat. As a recent article at Gizmodo points out:
Yet when 300,000 people turned on their iPad for the first time last month, their first experience wasn't magical or revolutionary. It was depressingly retro. That little slice of the future was unusable out of the box because it's just as slavishly umbilicated to a desktop computer by the same white cable as the nearly decade-old iPod.

iPad should have been the netbook-killer. But it's just an overpriced, oversized iPod Touch.

Further reading: