March 2011 Archives

Technology Is Eating Jobs

By Michael Mulvey on March 31, 2011 6:12 PM

WSJ: Is Your Job an Endangered Species?

Tellers, phone operators, stock brokers, stock traders: These jobs are nearly extinct. Since 2007, the New York Stock Exchange has eliminated 1,000 jobs. And when was the last time you spoke to a travel agent? Nearly all of them have been displaced by technology and the Web. Librarians can't find 36,000 results in 0.14 seconds, as Google can. And a snappily dressed postal worker can't instantly deliver a 140-character tweet from a plane at 36,000 feet.

So which jobs will be destroyed next? Figure that out and you'll solve the puzzle of where new jobs will appear.

Forget blue-collar and white- collar. There are two types of workers in our economy: creators and servers. Creators are the ones driving productivity--writing code, designing chips, creating drugs, running search engines. Servers, on the other hand, service these creators (and other servers) by building homes, providing food, offering legal advice, and working at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Many servers will be replaced by machines, by computers and by changes in how business operates. It's no coincidence that Google announced it plans to hire 6,000 workers in 2011.

The World As He Sees It

By Michael Mulvey on March 31, 2011 6:07 PM

How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people -- first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving...

- Albert Einstein, The World As I See It

The Sprinter Applies For A Job

By Michael Mulvey on March 31, 2011 5:40 PM

Leave it to Mercedes to make mud-splattered tires beautiful tools of artistic expression.

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Thanks, Mark

A Laptop Tablet Makes Perfect Sense

By Michael Mulvey on March 30, 2011 11:19 AM

NYTimes: Acer's Iconia Is the Craziest Laptop of All Time

Sometimes engineers get excited about things without stopping to ask the question: Why? Why is this better? Why would anyone want this?

Such questions, it would appear, were not asked in the labs of Acer. Its latest offering, the Iconia, is one of the most bizarre products to ever make it to production. The Iconia, when closed, looks like a laptop. When opened, however, all is revealed: the Iconia is actually two 14-inch touchscreens joined at a hinge.

I love engineers, they're completely brilliant, and most of the time also completely impracticable.

Da Format

By Michael Mulvey on March 29, 2011 9:20 PM

A few weeks ago, I got back into gear and continued the process of redesigning this site. The redesign includes both cosmetic and structural changes. While dozens of changes need to be made, I've started with the most basic and most important - the individual entry format.

My primary goal is to make Daily Exhaust a great reading experience. Most sites don't work this way. This applies to amateur blogs to professional blogs to news sites by multi-national corporations.

We're all familar with layouts similar to this:

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You've got a entry body area that may or may not be at an optimal size for readability and then over on the righthand side, a bunch of shit having nothing to do with the entry you're reading. If you're lucky enough to scroll past these billboards during your reading journey, you inevitably encounter the eternal sidebar deadspace, the U.S. Route 50 of websites.

I need a better driving, excuse me, reading experience on Daily Exhaust. I want people to enjoy coming here, not merely endure a sub-optimal reading layout because they like the content.

So in my world, when you're reading, it's the only thing in your view:

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Look to the left, look to the right... it's all related to the entry. In this case, when you look to the right, it's the meta content related to the entry. Time stamp. Category. Keywords. No ads. No sub navigation. No dead space, just open space.

Yes, I'm not directly monetizing this site (aside from self-promotion) yet, so I have the luxury of creating any format I choose. Regardless, it's possible to scale the current format in a way that still favors the reader while making me money. Down the road, if I do include ads on the page, I plan to do so either within designated space between posts, or in actual entries themselves. I look forward to having these types of problems.

Moving forward, there'll be many more changes but won't change is a focus on readability.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

By Michael Mulvey on March 29, 2011 3:47 PM

My father used to say this to me whenever we were working on a project in his workshop. The object was usually made of wood, and the tool was usually his table saw.

Physical projects, as opposed to the virtual ones on the Web, have much different and permanent ramifications when you make decisions. Once you cut a piece of wood, it's cut. Done. There's no Command-Z.

Today though, I discovered a place in the virtual world where this mantra makes perfect sense - email messages. While I'm a fast and efficient multi-tasker, I'm also a great maker of typos. It's most obvious in my messages to clients.

So now I read twice (or three times) and send once.

Go Play With Your Dog, Kid

By Michael Mulvey on March 29, 2011 10:08 AM

From SlashDot:

A 12-year-old boy by the name of Jacob Barnett is a math genius. Mastering many college level astrophysics courses by the age of 8, he now works on his most ambitious project to date: his own 'expanded version of Einstein's theory of relativity.

.........Mkay.

Jony Ive and the Hardware

By Michael Mulvey on March 29, 2011 9:04 AM

Minimal Mac linked to a great video at Forkbombr yesterday of Jony Ive (pre-Steve-Jobs-comeback) explaining the all of the details in the design of the 20th Anniversary Macintosh (TAM).

It's great to see Ive as enthusiastic about hardware design then as he is now.

I also like how the TAM forshadowed the subsequent all-in-one iMacs we know today:

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Meet Me In The Basement

By Michael Mulvey on March 29, 2011 8:24 AM

Imagination At Work

By Michael Mulvey on March 28, 2011 9:02 AM

From the NYTimes:

General Electric, the nation's largest corporation, had a very good year in 2010.

The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States.

Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.

That may be hard to fathom for the millions of American business owners and households now preparing their own returns, but low taxes are nothing new for G.E. The company has been cutting the percentage of its American profits paid to the Internal Revenue Service for years, resulting in a far lower rate than at most multinational companies.

Activate the Future

By Michael Mulvey on March 28, 2011 8:50 AM

BMW has a great series of documentary films up on their Activate the Future site.

From their about page:

"Wherever You Want To Go" is the first release under BMW Documentaries--a new franchise dedicated to crafting original, thought-provoking and entertaining content. The film aims to take audiences to a place they've truly never been: the future. From the minds of some of the most influential scientists, academics, pioneers, and entrepreneurs of our time, this four-part documentary paints a unique picture of technology, culture, cities, our past, present and how it all relates to the future of mobility.

"Wherever You Want To Go" is not meant to provide definitive answers, but rather, to ask the right questions from the right people in an attempt to generate discussion, provoke thought and stir the imagination. As part of the Activate the Future website, viewers are also encouraged to click and comment on various points throughout the documentary.

BMWActivatetheFuture.com was created to get users actively involved in the ever-evolving conversation on the future of mobility. Over the coming months, this site will continue to explore new ways to shape the future of mobility and will encourage users' opinions and participation along the way.

via PSFK

Usage Is Like Oxygen

By Michael Mulvey on March 25, 2011 11:42 AM

This article by Matt Mullenwag is a must-read for anyone who creates anything. I'm talking about painters, designers, entrepreneurs, writers, musicians - any creator.

Usage is like oxygen for ideas. You can never fully anticipate how an audience is going to react to something you've created until it's out there. That means every moment you're working on something without it being in the public it's actually dying, deprived of the oxygen of the real world. It's even worse because development doesn't happen in a vacuum -- if you have a halfway decent idea, you can be sure that there are two or three teams somewhere in the world that independently came up with it and are working on the same thing, or something you haven't even imagined that disrupts the market you're working in. (Think of all the podcasting companies -- including Ev Williams' Odeo -- before iTunes built podcasting functionality in.)

I've taken this mentality with Daily Exhaust. The site, as it is right now, is not what I would consider finished. The overall design is still in progress. I'm not even sure I would call it a 1.0 release candidate. I still have a lot of work to do, but having it up and live puts pressure on me to work on it, improve it.

It's a cliché, but seriously, if you have an idea, just do it.

Happy Cities

By Michael Mulvey on March 25, 2011 11:14 AM

PSFK: Why Some Cities Make You Happier

Florida narrowed down the sources of this relative happiness to income, the type of work we do, and our level of education. He explained that cities with more knowledge, and more professional and creative jobs have a lower unemployment rate and higher level of income. Cities with more blue collar jobs, that were hit hardest by the economic crisis, are experiencing increasing unemployment rates and lowering incomes and residents don't have the means to relocate. This puts a serious damper on the ability of those cities' populations to be happy under Florida's criteria.

What he found was that, over time, America has increasingly become unequal and divided in terms of income, jobs, education, politics and culture. The difference between being happy and unhappy has come to revolve around geographical location and urban environment.

Good Morning

By Michael Mulvey on March 24, 2011 9:03 AM

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Good Morning, people.

This message is the first in what will be a series I'll be posting here as well as on Facebook. I want color in my Facebook news feed. I'm tired of seeing the same bullshit, mundane status updates and poorly shot family photos. Maybe it has something to do with the new Color app for iPhone I just read about.

Obama and His 'Change', of Mind

By Michael Mulvey on March 22, 2011 1:53 PM

The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

- Senator Barack Obama, 2007

via Missile Test

looking down

By Michael Mulvey on March 22, 2011 12:28 PM

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Blame It On The iPhone

By Michael Mulvey on March 22, 2011 8:32 AM

DealBook: How the iPhone Led to the Sale of T-Mobile USA

Until Apple introduced its highly popular touchscreen device in 2007, which went on to become the world's leading smartphone, Deutsche Telekom had been generating decent sales from its American operation, with growth in some years surpassing that achieved in Germany.

But after the iPhone went on sale, sold exclusively at first by AT&T in the United States, T-Mobile USA began to lose its most lucrative customers, those on fixed monthly plans, who defected to its larger American rivals -- AT&T and Verizon Wireless, which began selling the iPhone in February.

Paying For the News, Like Water

By Michael Mulvey on March 19, 2011 7:21 PM

So we've all heard by now that the New York Times has begun the rollout of their paywall, starting with those Canadians, because we can't trust them.

I agree with the responses of Koi Vihn and John Gruber - I think the choices and process for this new paywall defy logic and are way too confusing for the average user.

I've heard people say 'hell no' to paying for news access on websites. Some of these people are also the ones against advertising or use Adblock in their browser. I'm not against paying for the news, in whatever form it comes in, as long as it's reasonable and provides real value.

We all gotten very used to most things being free on the web for many years now, but not everything has to live under advertising-subsidized-free-model. There's room for other business models.

If you asked someone 30 years ago if they'd be willing to pay for bottled water, they'd laugh. I see the same thing happening now with pay model for web news.

Paying for news and water shouldn't concern us. What should concern is us is when the only way to get quality news (and water) is to pay for it.

Replacing the Combustion Chamber?

By Michael Mulvey on March 18, 2011 12:57 PM

Popular Science: Shockwave-Generating Wave Discs Could Replace Internal Combustion Engines

Michigan researchers have built a prototype of a new auto motor that does away with pistons, crankshafts and valves, replacing the old internal combustion engine with a disc-shaped shock wave generator. It could slash the weight of hybrid cars and reduce auto emissions by 90 percent.

I'm not against replacing the combustion chamber, but you better damn well have an equally kick-ass name for this new component.

Shockwave-generating-disc ain't gonna cut it.

via PSFK

This Makes Me a Mad Man

By Michael Mulvey on March 17, 2011 1:22 PM

ScreenRant: No Word Yet On 'Mad Men' Season 5 Says Christina Hendricks

The word around Hollywood seems to indicate that a fifth season of Mad Men is inevitable. What's keeping the renewal from happening are two different agreements that have yet to be made: show creator and executive producer Matthew Weiner hasn't renewed with Lionsgate TV, and Lionsgate hasn't renewed with AMC. Though there's no official word from either party, it's reasonable to assume that money is the prime negotiating point.

Booooooooooooooo.

Feltron 1929-2010

By Michael Mulvey on March 17, 2011 8:49 AM

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In my Inbox yesterday:

Hello, and thanks again for ordering a copy of this year's Annual Report.

The bulk of the printing was completed yesterday, now the press sheets need to dry for a few days before the covers are foil stamped. Finally the pages will be collated and bound. I anticipate that I will begin shipping orders within 2 weeks.

I have posted a few photos of an unfinished report to my flickr account: http://www.flickr.com/photos/feltron/

Cheers, Nicholas.

Hell yes.

Dry Hair Is For Squids*

By Michael Mulvey on March 15, 2011 10:18 PM

My good friend Bryan has been writing a column on his site, Missile Test, called 'Shitty Movie Sundays'. He's spent a solid amount of time and effort both viewing shitty movies and writing reviews on them, but I was never interested in deliberately watching any shitty movies (insane, right?). That is, until last week when I rented Trancers from my Apple TV after reading his review of it. I won't give you a review here (Bryan's is far more entertaining), but I will say this - it's really bad.

OK, it's shitty, but it's Good Shitty, if you can understand that. It's hysterically bad and when I say 'hysterically' I mean I laughed more than once while watching it. If I laughed, it counts for something in my book.

As I'm sure Bryan will back me up on, there's a spectrum of shitty the same way there's a spectrum of anything else. There's Pointless Shitty, like The A-Team (I had to stop it 30 minutes in). There's Boring Shitty, Half-Assed Shitty, Over-Produced Shitty. And like Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, you can have a crazy combinations of shitty, like Way Too Many Fake Backdrops Shitty with a scoop of Inconsistent Script Shitty. Get the idea?

I think it's important to balance things out and see a shitty movie every now and then. It gives you perspective. It's makes your appreciation for the great films all the more clear.

I won't say it isn't dangerous. Be careful what you watch. You won't get that 1.5-2 hours of your life back.

*you're not going to understand the title of this post unless you watch at least 30 minutes of Trancers

How Dare They

By Michael Mulvey on March 15, 2011 10:14 PM

NYTimes: Owsley Stanley, Artisan of Acid, Is Dead at 76

In short, Mr. Stanley lent the '60s a great deal of its color -- like White Lightning, Monterey Purple and Blue Cheer, the varieties of his LSD that were among the most popular. (He did not, contrary to popular lore, release a product called Purple Haze; in interviews, he sounded quite miffed that anything emerging from his laboratory could be thought to cause haziness rather than the crystalline clarity for which he personally vouched.)

Link tip Missile Test

Say What You Believe And See Who Follows

By Michael Mulvey on March 15, 2011 9:30 PM

A great interview with Seth Godin by GiANT Impact:

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Via someone I follow on Twitter, I can't remember!

The Kids Are Alright

By Michael Mulvey on March 15, 2011 1:01 PM

Steve Jobs killed the music business, according to Jon Bon Jovi:

"Kids today have missed the whole experience of putting the headphones on, turning it up to 10, holding the jacket, closing their eyes and getting lost in an album," he said. "And the beauty of taking your allowance money and making a decision based on the jacket, not knowing what the record sounded like, and looking at a couple of still pictures and imagining it... I hate to sound like an old man now, but I am, and you mark my words, in a generation from now people are going to say: 'What happened?' Steve Jobs is personally responsible for killing the music business."

Easy there Jon, it's sounding like the grumpy-old-man-phase is starting with you. I find Jovi's choice of words interesting. He didn't say Jobs killed music, he said he killed the music business.

By the looks of the comments on that article, it looks as though the kids are alright, Jon.

If we can leave ComplainerVille for a moment and visit CanDoVille, we find Jack White setting up mobile record store at South By Southwest:

Third Man Records' latest innovation is not another new-fangled type of vinyl like the Triple Decker Record. Instead, it's the Third Man Rolling Record Store, a mobile record shop which can travel around the country, equipped with for-sale vinyl, a turntable, microphone, and a state-of-the-art sound system for a live music experience at shows and festival. The fully converted delivery 'record truck' intends to resemble the look and feel of the label's Nashville location, and is set to roll into this year's SXSW on March 16th. Among its offerings are a full menu of Third Man merchandise along with performances, guest DJs, giveaways and ultra-limited records, entirely exclusive to the Rolling Record Store.

I'm the first to admit we've lost some things in the world of digital media - fidelity, physicality, album art - but I wouldn't say the situation is dire. Are kids still discovering music? Absolutely. Is it how Bon Jovi discovered it? No.

It's Because the Japanese Are Chill

By Michael Mulvey on March 15, 2011 11:11 AM

The Telegraph: Why is there no looting in Japan? :

This is quite unusual among human cultures, and it's unlikely it would be the case in Britain. During the 2007 floods in the West Country abandoned cars were broken into and free packs of bottled water were stolen. There was looting in Chile after the earthquake last year - so much so that troops were sent in; in New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina saw looting on a shocking scale.

Why do some cultures react to disaster by reverting to everyone for himself, but others - especially the Japanese - display altruism even in adversity?

Ease the Grip, Apple, Please

By Michael Mulvey on March 15, 2011 9:49 AM

From The Register:

Apple's iOS mobile operating system runs web applications at significantly slower speeds when they're launched from the iPhone or iPad home screen as opposed to in the Apple Safari browser, and at the same time, the operating system hampers the performance of these apps in other ways, according to tests from multiple developers and The Register.

A Virtual Letterpress?

By Michael Mulvey on March 10, 2011 9:15 AM

Yesterday I came across a new Kickstarter project for a virtual letterpress application for the iPad.

Hmm.

I temporarily reserved judgement and played the 'pitch' video. What I found out was the team behind the project is spending a lot of time creating a beautifully detailed and 'realistic' application that lets anyone "create authentic-looking letterpress designs and prints." The application recreates the whole letterpress process - from setting type to inking type, to rolling a paper-covered drum.

While I love seeing creative people creating great products, is this the best use of multitouch tablets? Recreating all the things we knew and loved in our analogue world (but didn't realize at the time)?

What's next, bringing back the rotary phone dial?

I'm confident to say this is just a phase in the trajectory of computer interfaces. It's inevitable the touch screens of tomorrow will be more responsive and reactive to the user, that is until we no longer have visible interfaces. We're seeing this happen right now with Microsoft's Kinect and the subsequent hacks people have made for it.

The lesson here is to find new ways to solve problems, don't port old processes into new paradigms.

preventative versus corrective

By Michael Mulvey on March 9, 2011 8:14 AM

Ars Technica: Google frags fragmentation with Fragments API for older Android versions

In a post on the Android developer blog, Google has announced the availability of a new static library for Android developers that provides a more portable implementation of the Fragments API. This will allow third-party Android application developers to take advantage of Fragments without having to sacrifice backwards compatibility with existing Android handsets.

This brings to mind the difference between preventative and corrective healthcare. The United States has been seeing a diabetes epidemic with more and more people being diagnosed with it each year. The reaction to this is just that - to react with corrective treatment. One way to respond to this problem is reducing the amount of corn-based products on the shelves of our super markets so people don't grow to be so fat, putting them in the high-risk category.

Google's Android platform is becoming fragmented across the various hardware units it's being deployed on and they too are reacting. Perhaps a better approach would be to design a more scalable system less prone to fragmentation. As it stands now, Android phones being built by various hardware manufacturers have different screen resolutions, proportions and hardware button configurations.

Apple solved this problem not only by controlling both the software and hardware, but to limit the number of different hardware configurations. All iPhones and iPod Touches feature the same screen proportions (they were all 320x480 pixels prior to the iPhone, which has double the resolution - 640x980 pixels).

We can't future-proof everything, let alone technology, but a little design thinking can go along way.

Adobe Getting Off Its Ass

By Michael Mulvey on March 8, 2011 9:48 AM

NewTeeVee: Adobe Hopes Wallaby Can Vault Apple's Flash Blockade

Ever since Steve Jobs issued his "Thoughts on Flash" almost a year ago, there's has been a lot written about the conflict between Adobe's favorite runtime and Apple's iOS platform, supported by the powerful new capabilities of HTML5.

It's starting to look like those arguments won't matter any more, however, since Adobe appears to be switching its strategy and launching new products that can cope with Apple's restrictions. The first major example: Wallaby, a system it is launching today to convert basic Flash files -- such as animations and banner ads -- into code that will work on iOS.

This is a good sign.

Wait, Tom Barclay from Adobe has words about Wallaby:

"There's still room for improvement, but I think we've addressed a very specific use case for banner ads on iOS," he told me.

Fuck.

Hyperlinks are just fine, thank you.

By Michael Mulvey on March 8, 2011 9:38 AM

PSFK, via, asks: Can The Facebook Like Button Supplant The Hyperlink?

Answer: No.

I'm really tired of hyperbolic headlines.

Hollowed Out

By Michael Mulvey on March 8, 2011 9:22 AM

NYT: Armies of Expensive Lawyers, Replaced by Cheaper Software

When five television studios became entangled in a Justice Department antitrust lawsuit against CBS, the cost was immense. As part of the obscure task of "discovery" -- providing documents relevant to a lawsuit -- the studios examined six million documents at a cost of more than $2.2 million, much of it to pay for a platoon of lawyers and paralegals who worked for months at high hourly rates.

But that was in 1978. Now, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, "e-discovery" software can analyze documents in a fraction of the time for a fraction of the cost. In January, for example, Blackstone Discovery of Palo Alto, Calif., helped analyze 1.5 million documents for less than $100,000.

America in Color

By Michael Mulvey on March 8, 2011 9:02 AM

I've said it before and I'll continue to - it's amazing and sad to think we went from rich, film-based photography to the up-until-recently inferior digital photography.

These are shots from the Great Depression (1939-43):

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Photos from The Denver Post (via Good Shit)

The Year of iPad 2

By Michael Mulvey on March 2, 2011 3:30 PM

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Quick thoughts on the new iPad 2 from Apple.

I was thinking about how they self-proclaimed this the year of iPad 2 and how no other company can do that due to the multi-vendor nature of the Android market.

Google simply provides the operating system, Android, to power all the mobile devices and tablets other hardware vendors make. So while Motorola could try to proclaim this the year of the Xoom, they won't because they know they can only hope to sell a fraction of the units Apple will sell.

In addition, the names of the products change so often in the Android market, they never stick around long enough to garner a following.

Sure, hardware vendors could proclaim this 'The Year of Honeycomb' - but consumers will have no idea what that means. Promoting Honeycomb is calling attention to the software, so any of hardware vendor who builds devices for Honeycomb can make that claim and that's bad, because LG, Samsung, Motorola and the rest need to differentiate themselves from each other.

Technology Is Not Enough

By Michael Mulvey on March 2, 2011 2:13 PM

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This is worth repeating. It's in Apple's DNA that technology is not enough. It's tech married with the liberal arts and the humanities. Nowhere is that more true than in the post-PC products. Our competitors are looking at this like it's the next PC market. That is not the right approach to this. These are pos-PC devices that need to be easier to use than a PC, more intuitive.

—Steve Jobs, from Apple's iPad 2 Event, 2 March 2011 (via Engadget)

AT&T Takes It Personally

By Michael Mulvey on March 2, 2011 1:48 PM

From the NYTimes:

WASHINGTON -- In a lively decision that relied as much on dictionaries, grammar and usage as it did on legal analysis, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled unanimously that corporations have no personal privacy rights for purposes of the Freedom of Information Act.

Chief Justice Roberts dropped some serious vocab on AT&T's ass:

In addition to considering dictionary definitions for and the common usage of the word "personal" standing alone, Chief Justice Roberts said the word should also be considered in the context of the phrase "personal privacy." Here, too, he said, "AT&T's effort to attribute a special legal meaning to the word 'personal' in this particular context is wholly unpersuasive."

"Two words together may assume a more particular meaning than those words in isolation," he wrote, adding that "personal privacy" suggests "a kind of privacy evocative of human concerns."

The chief justice had examples here, too. "We understand a golden cup to be a cup made of or resembling gold," he wrote. "A golden boy, on the other hand, is one who is charming, lucky and talented. A golden opportunity is one not to be missed."

Thanks, Bryan.

Home Ownership Isn't For All

By Michael Mulvey on March 2, 2011 12:48 PM

From the Financial Post:

Peter Schiff is not what you'd call a typical homeowner. He doesn't think buying a house is generally a good idea.

At least, not for the reasons many people give when they pull the trigger: That it's an investment. That it will gain value. That when you're all grown up, it just seems like the responsible thing to do.

"I own a house but I don't expect to make any money off it," says Mr. Schiff, chief executive of Euro Pacific Capital. "I own a house like I own my car or my boat. I need a place to live and I enjoy it. And I expect it to depreciate just like all the other things that I own."

Sure, that's all it takes

By Michael Mulvey on March 2, 2011 10:58 AM

GigaOm: Why Google Still Needs to Buy a Groupon Clone

Google is launching -- or at least beta-testing -- a Groupon-style discount program for small businesses known as Google Offers, something that was first reported by Mashable and then confirmed by Google in an email to Search Engine Land. The program appears to be identical to those run by Groupon or one of the dozen smaller group-buying startups, in that it allows merchants to offer a discount that only gets triggered if enough people sign up for the deal. But does Google have what it takes to build up that kind of service on its own? Probably not. Which is why the company should still think about buying a Groupon clone.

Sure, that's all it takes. Whatever market you're in, if you don't have a product to use against the competition, just buy one.

Live It

By Michael Mulvey on March 2, 2011 10:26 AM

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Live the Sheen Dream

Details

By Michael Mulvey on March 2, 2011 9:50 AM

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via TUAW

you put them through a wind tunnel

By Michael Mulvey on March 2, 2011 9:02 AM

RIM's Jeff McDowell reacting to HP's Jon Oakes claim that RIM is copying HP with their Playbook tablet (via LatopMag):

I feel that we set out from the ground up to define a Human Experience that we felt would delight our customers, and we landed in a place that may look like other competitive devices. But there was no intention and no preconceived notion that this is what we want to end up looking like. In fact, I think QNX had that design lined up before we even started working with them.

You know, cars over time end up looking a lot alike because you put them through a wind tunnel, and when you're trying to come up with the best coefficient to drag ratio, there's one optimized shape that gets the best wind resistance, right? Well, when you're trying to optimize Human Experience that juggles multitasking, multiple apps open at once and on a small screen, you're going to get people landing on similar kinds of designs.

I always love when car analogies end up in tech stories and I can understand McDowell's point of view.

There's always going to be overlap in user interfaces on computers. It happened when Steve Jobs created the Macintosh after seeing Xerox PARC's work on the GUI, then the same thing happened when Microsoft released Windows 95, an OS heavily influenced by the Mac OS.

But as with any creative endeavor there's a line between inspiration and duplication.

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