I’m going to continue to write about what’s happening in our industry. But I’m also glad that I had this chance to step back and get some perspective on my work, because I haven’t written nearly enough articles recently that I’ll be proud to show off more than a few months from now.
Marco’s got it. So have I.
There are some pieces in the archive that I’m proud of. (Here’s one.) But not many. Snarky quips don’t have much lasting value. So fuck it if I’m going to spend my time making Amazon/DOJ quips that don’t make any sense if you just think for five seconds. I’ll leave that to Gruber (who I unsubscribed from today).
P.S. Let’s party and bullshit on Twitter from now on: @RagingTBolt.
As I said a while back, I unsubscribed to MG Siegler, Shawn Blanc, etc. Weirdly enough, the posts here have decreased dramatically since then. I suspect there is a pattern…
Marco Arment has an excellent post on Twitter’s “Innovator’s Patent Agreement”. The gist: excellent PR move, but doesn’t change anything legally. Sounds right to me. But what caught my attention was a footnote:
Many Instapaper ideas might have been patentable […] I didn’t patent the older inventions because I couldn’t afford to. I probably could have patented some of the newer ones, but I didn’t even look into it enough to do basic prior-art searches. I fundamentally disagree that software patents (and many other types of patents) are a net gain for society, and I can’t participate in that system in good conscience. That’s a stand that I’d like to see more companies adopt.
I don’t get this. By not taking action, you are still exerting an effect on the current system. Namely, it’s now possible for some troll to patent the various Instapaper innovations and sue other developers. Sure, those patents may get invalidated due to prior art. But as we know, that takes time, and often in the face of legal uncertainty, small developers settle. So, by saving your conscience, you’re effectively enabling the patent trolls via inaction.
Here is an alternative. Why not patent everything you can and donate it to, say, EFF? It’ll achieve the practical effect of putting the innovation in the public domain. I think Larry Lessig would be happy with that. (And perhaps EFF should reimburse innovators for the legal fees involved in getting a patent.)
“Is that rain?” I need Siri!
Allow me to take a break from the regularly scheduled programming to tell you why Jonah Lehrer is a moron. Lehrer, if you didn’t know, is a charlatan who sells neuropseudosciencebabble to the unsuspecting public.
Recently, Lehrer wrote an article about Kobe Bryant for Grantland:
By nearly every metric, Kobe Bryant is having his best season in years. Not only is he leading the league in scoring, but he’s also performing above his career average in points per game and rebounds. (As always, Kobe is shooting too much: plus ça change.) Even his minutes are up: Kobe is playing nearly five minutes more per game than last season.
Lehrer is right, if “nearly” means almost none or if “every metric” means every metric that doesn’t matter.
As anyone can see on Basketball Reference under advanced statistics, Kobe’s Win Share / 48 minutes is his worst since 1998-1999 and a far fall from his career average. His PER, TS%, etc. are all worse than his career average and down from previous seasons too. The only difference is that Kobe’s playing more this year, but I don’t think I’d count trading Lamar Odom as a breakthrough in medical science.
Lehrer goes on:
It’s the usual tragedy of time, only accelerated by the intensity of professional basketball. By the age of 30, their glory days are probably long gone.
Yes, and the advanced statistics show clearly that this tragedy has happened to Kobe too.
And yet, the aging Kobe — he will turn 34 this summer — seems to have resisted this dismal downward arc.
Only if we ignore the facts. But whatever.
Kobe concurs: “I feel a lot stronger and a lot quicker.”
Kobe is obviously delusional.
As a result, the case reports of athletes represent an interesting test of the medicine. Their performance on the field is a kind of clinical trial.
… which shows that even the most advanced medicine cannot stop the natural trajectory?
Given the paucity of evidence, it’s entirely possible that these biologic treatments will one day be consigned to the trash bin of experimental medicine, a set of therapies that are little more than an expensive placebo. Perhaps Kobe’s knee isn’t really healed — he just thinks it is.
Excellent ending to the article. Oh wait, there are 2943u92921 more paragraphs? Fuck this. I’m skipping to the end.
The inverted U curve of performance haunts the career of every veteran; the nightmare of the gifted is the loss of their gift. If biologic medicine does nothing else, at least it assuages this anxiety, giving aging stars a newfound sense of confidence. As Kobe’s season appears to demonstrate, the curve can be reversed.
Except that it doesn’t.
Or maybe the injection of spun blood is just an elaborate placebo, a high-tech gimmick that tricks the brain into disbelieving the laments of the body.
Looking at Kobe’s season, the answer is clearly not “maybe”, but a resounding “yes”.
Update: As a reader notes, the injection of spun blood did not even have a placebo effect, except to make Jonah Lehrer ignore all relevant evidence.
Randomly checked out the Svbtle roster again. The network has really grown! (Even the Cheezberger guy is on there.) I applied, because I totally want in on the party! Kind of wish there were an RSS feed of the entire network.
Pippin Barr has 36 experiments with pong that approaches Lars-von-Trier-circa-Five-Obstructions-level of pretention. Love it. [via waxy.org]
Do you mind if I make a suggestion? I think it’d be good for you to cut back on some of the Apple-centric sites you subscribe to or visit regularly. I mean, how many stories about the new iPad and Mike Daisey do you really need to read? Can’t most of them be summarized as new iPad: good; Mike Daisey: bad?
I’m not saying you should stop reading about Apple or the Mac or iOS. Just stop reading the same stuff repackaged again and again and posted on different sites with different “authors.” In its place, start reading original material. It’s a little harder to find because it usually doesn’t appear in the circle jerk of links from the newsnreview sites, but it’s worth the effort.
I’ve unsubscribed from MG Siegler and others.
I’m still subscribing to Dustin Curtis though, just because his brand of pseudoscientific charlatanism drives me even more nuts than everything else.
From a reader who I’ll call “Dustin”:
I think this comes back to a familiar problem. Apple people don’t realize that Apple products are specialist products. Specialist review sites (I’m thinking of places like silentpcreview) are all well aware that they’re catering to a specialist audience. But Apple reviewers seem to think that the Apple way is the right way for everybody, everywhere, all the time.
Cue responses that cite iPad and iPhone sales numbers!
Marco Arment has a post on the complexity he found with Chase’s app check-deposit process and the relative simplicity he found with the traditional ATM check-deposit process. In the end, he concludes:
Sometimes, new technology is not progress.
I don’t doubt Arment’s experience, but I think the conclusion is still not warranted.
One reason that Arment found the traditional ATM check-deposit process easier is that he “end[s] up walking past a Chase ATM regularly.” Another reason that he found the traditional process easier is that it handles multiple checks quicker. All true. Of some people.
If you don’t live or work in a city, it’s significantly more of a hassle to go to an ATM. Worse, if you don’t have a branch near you, then it’s a real hassle. (Arment readily concedes this point.) Many people only rarely get checks. So having to deposit multiple checks isn’t an issue. For these people, having the option of depositing a check from home is a godsend.
And that’s what technology is about: giving more options to more people. Sure, there will be people who, in their particular circumstances, find using a typewriter preferable to a computer and a dumbphone preferable to a smartphone. But that doesn’t diminish the new option that a new technology offers. In this case, new technology is progress — even if it is no better (or worse) for some people.
Oh I get it, Apple says jump and suppliers say how high. It’s that easy.
Totally. Apple telling a supplier to build a brand new factory that only makes Apple products in a country far far away from China? The supplier saying yes to such outlandish request? In fact, the supplier builds not just one, but five of these new factories?