aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Sometimes, evil works.
Wired’s got an ode to Apple, How Apple Got Everything Right By Doing Everything Wrong:
[B]y deliberately flouting the Google mantra, Apple has thrived. When Jobs retook the helm in 1997, the company was struggling to survive. Today it has a market cap of $105 billion, placing it ahead of Dell and behind Intel. Its iPod commands 70 percent of the MP3 player market. Four billion songs have been purchased from iTunes. The iPhone is reshaping the entire wireless industry. Even the underdog Mac operating system has begun to nibble into Windows’ once-unassailable dominance; last year, its share of the US market topped 6 percent, more than double its portion in 2003.
It’s hard to see how any of this would have happened had Jobs hewed to the standard touchy-feely philosophies of Silicon Valley. Apple creates must-have products the old-fashioned way: by locking the doors and sweating and bleeding until something emerges perfectly formed. It’s hard to see the Mac OS and the iPhone coming out of the same design-by-committee process that produced Microsoft Vista or Dell’s Pocket DJ music player. Likewise, had Apple opened its iTunes-iPod juggernaut to outside developers, the company would have risked turning its uniquely integrated service into a hodgepodge of independent applications - kind of like the rest of the Internet, come to think of it.
And now observers, academics, and even some other companies are taking notes. Because while Apple’s tactics may seem like Industrial Revolution relics, they’ve helped the company position itself ahead of its competitors and at the forefront of the tech industry. Sometimes, evil works.
Bundled unlimited iTunes with iPods?
A report by the Financial Times (registration required) cites unnamed executives who say that Apple is in talks with record labels to offer access to the entire iTunes music library for a lump sum price. The fee would be added as a premium option on an iPod or iPhone, or it could come as a monthly charge. It would allow downloading of any song at any time so long as the purchaser still owns the device, and the songs would be yours to keep.
This latest concept is similar to Nokia’s ”Comes With Music” program set to launch later this year. Nokia is reportedly rolling an $80 fee into the price of compatible phones for one year of access to Nokia’s music store, which includes music from labels like Universal.
Apple’s plan is different in several respects. Since the average iPod owner buys about 20 tracks from the iTunes, Apple wants to make the premium about $20, arguing that it should cover the average consumer’s downloads. Then the owner can make unlimited music downloads from the iTunes Store for the life of the device. Once downloaded, the tracks are yours to keep, even if you get rid of the original iPod or iPhone. And since iPod and phone owners tend to replace devices fairly regularly, the record labels would be getting the fee whether or not the consumer makes any further downloads. Silicon Alley Insider did the math and thinks it’s a good deal all around. But according to the Financial Times’ sources, the labels are looking for numbers closer to the $80 Nokia is reported to be paying.
One (Singular) Advantage of Being Black
Jonathan Chait makes an interesting point:
[Obama] may be liberated to operate at a high intellectual level in public because he’s black. I’m not trying to be Gerry Ferraro here; let me explain. Candidates like John Kerry and (even moreso) Al Gore were also very smart, but constantly forced to dumb it down lest they be tagged as out-of-touch elitists. Since the egghead image is so at odds with the prevailing stereotypes about African-Americans, he has much less to fear by speaking at a high intellectual level.
Of course, Obama is extremely intelligent—as smart as, or smarter than, any presidential candidate I can ever remember. Yet I don’t think a brilliant white Constitutional law professor could pull it off. Being black obviously disadvantages Obama in all sorts of ways. But this is one way where it helps.
And while at The New Republic, John McWhorter responded to the speech in a guest post there:
For a light-skinned half-white Ivy League-educated black man to repudiate, in clear language and repeatedly, the take on race of people like Julian Bond and Nikki Giovanni is not only honest but truly bold.
A certain strain of black bloggers will be blowing their tops for a week, while some black writers of mature years will remind us in editorials that Wright’s vision of America is more present-tense than Obama’s speech implies. [...]
Obama knows that anti-whitey sermons are, in 2008, Sunday morning’s gangsta rap--infectious confection.
I’ve been wondering whether the dust-up over Obama and Wright was mere political hardball or based on actual misunderstanding of black community dynamics. Obama has now clarified the latter, to an extent that ought to satisfy any reasonable listener.
Public corruption in Georgia
BULLETIN: Corruption investigation wider than thought. InsiderAdvantageGeorgia has learned from a highly placed source in the legal community that at least one state legislator has"been wearing a wire for the past year” in an on-going and potentially widespread investigation of public corruption in Georgia. This suggests that the federal government may have been involved in an investigation of corruption under the Gold Dome prior to the December, 2007 date suggested in stories related to the resignation and guilty plea by Rep. Ron Sailor. The investigation may reach across both aisles of the House and potentially the Senate according to the source. Updates to come.