The best way to combat piracy is to make your content available.
Jeff Zucker, President & CEO of NBC Universal, on Hulu
(Hulu rocks, by the way.)
This is random, but I’m puzzled.
Upon request, Safari 3 will happily either “Reopen Last Closed Window” or “Reopen All Windows From Last Session”. I use these a lot, particularly the latter.
Strangely, neither function works with a window aimed at Google Reader. Try it:
- Open Google Reader in a new window.
- Close that window.
- History → Reopen Last Closed Window is… grayed out?
- Open Google Reader in a new window.
- Quit Safari.
- Launch Safari.
- History → Reopen All Windows From Last Session, and you will find an empty window where Reader ought to be.
Update: Both functions work fine with Gmail and Google Calendar, in case you were wondering.
From a piece in the New York Times on the staggering amount of garbage in the world’s oceans:
“Trash is clogging the arteries of the planet,” [said Sylvia Earle, former chief scientist of the N.O.A.A.]. “We’re beginning to wake up to the fact that the planet is not infinitely resilient.” For ages humanity saw in the ocean a sublime grandeur suggestive of eternity. No longer. Surveying the debris on remote beaches like Gore Point, we see that the ocean is more finite than we’d thought. Now it is the sublime grandeur of our civilization but also of our waste that inspires awe.
Funny how essentially every environmental problem humanity has ever faced (read: caused) — deforestation, endangered species, waterway contamination, global warming, etc. — was a result of treating some aspect of the environment as infinite until discovering that, in fact, it wasn’t.
Makes me wonder,
- How long until we finally admit that this is not a good assumption?
- How many other environmental systems, similarly treated, are well on their way to running-out or filling-up?
From a recent Times post on the unsurprising complexity of IRS collection procedures:
Between 2002 and 2007, the I.R.S. sent more than 83 million first notices over about $444 billion in taxes. By the end of fiscal year 2007, $79.3 billion was collected, the report said.
That’s roughly 1 first notice per thousand delinquent dollars collected (not counting the various other higher-order ‘phases’ in the charming flowchart).
I’m wondering what the ratio of dollars spent to dollars collected would be here, and the GAO is apparently wondering the same thing. Economics suggests that they are operating at the point where the marginal cost of more-aggressive collection exceeds the marginal return, but no one can really say where that point is because the IRS is also suffering from a serious “lack of agencywide cost-benefit data and related performance measures”.
Government efficiency and accountability at its finest.
10.5.4 was released yesterday, and Spaces window layering is still broken.
In a piece of mediocre commentary (hat tip: John Gruber), Michael Rosenwald of the Washington Post attempts to put the low low purchase price of the upcoming iPhone 3G into perspective.
He works hard to explain how and why $200 seems so shockingly cheap compared to the previous $400 and original $600 price tags. (Behavioral economists apparently say that it is because $200 is, in fact, much less money than $400… and it’s way less than $600.) Nice work, Michael, that’s super enlightening.
Unfortunately, the man skips right over the actual issue. Says Mr. Rosenwald,
Of course, it will cost me an extra $10 a month in AT&T service fees, thus wiping out any gains, real or psychological, over the two-year contract period. [University of Chicago Economist Richard Thaler] said we tend to “underweight” these costs because they are off in the future. “There will be people who crunch the numbers, but the people who fall in love with the phone right away won’t,” he said.
I’m not saying this isn’t true — everything we’ve been reading says that it is exactly true. I’m just saying, Apple makes good products. And Apple is known for selling those products based purely on their quality — c.f., Apple’s iPhone ads. The message isn’t “this is how sexy you will be if you buy this phone”, it’s not “this is how smooth you will be if you buy this phone”, and it’s not “this is how many friends you will have if you buy this phone”; the message is, “check out this amazing phone.”
Apple should not be fooling people into buying the iPhone 3G — it’s beneath them.
As you no-doubt have heard, there’s a newer, faster, cheaper iPhone on the way. Not just “faster” and “cheaper”, in fact, but says Apple: “Twice as fast. Half the price.”
This, friends, is a big fat lie — it may well be twice as fast, but the iPhone 3G is not half the price of the original iPhone. This is not a point I intend to argue — it is not news. The up-front purchase cost of an 8 GB iPhone 3G is $200 lower than that of an 8 GB original iPhone, but AT&T will be hiking the cost of the data plan and (supposedly) making us pay for formerly included text messages, the upshot being that the Total Cost of Ownership (purchase price plus monthly fee times term of contract) of an 8 GB iPhone just increased by $160.
So what’s the big deal? The big deal is that Steve Jobs got up there on stage and said “half the price”. The big deal is that Apple’s tagline for the new iPhone says “half the price”. The big deal is that none other than the New York Times says “Apple Aims for the Masses With a Cheaper iPhone”. And it’s a lie: the money gets paid out differently, sure, but someone who could not afford the original iPhone can’t afford this one either, and Apple is trying to fool them into buying it anyway.
I don’t care that the new iPhone is more expensive (OK, I care a little); I don’t care if AT&T’s 2x charge for 3G vs. EDGE data is justified; and I don’t care if the total cost of an iPhone 3G is now more in-line with other 3G smartphones. What I care about is that Apple won’t stand up and admit it. Why do they insist on selling the iPhone 3G as cheaper when it’s obviously not, and why is everyone OK with this?
Let’s just face it, Apple: this whole thing is sleazy, and we expect better.
Update: AT&T has officially announced rate plans for the iPhone 3G. No surprises: $10 price increase from the 2G data plan, and text messages are no longer included. Also, they used the word “iReady”. For real.