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Apple iPhone much more than iPad

I have an LTE iPad that I get 2GB of data per month for $50 and I can terminate at any time. Totally month-to-month.

If I were to buy an iPhone, the same 2GB per month would cost $100 per month.

And I have to commit to a 2-year contract.

Why the huge disparity?

 10/11/13; 4:23:01 PM.

The lost promise of journalism

Continuing the Marshall/Flipboard thread, there seems to be a bunch of epiphany happening among NY-based journalists re the publishing platforms of the tech industry.

Check out this piece by Michele Filgate on Salon about her experience quitting Twitter.

Then check out this piece by Philip Bump on the Atlantic site about how Twitter is ruining America.

Summary: Sources go direct.

I think the changes are good, to the extent that it causes the smart people in journalism to be challenged to remake their craft in the new context.

It keeps journalists from drifting off into the land of the savvy (a term to thank Jay Rosen for). You can get that for free, in great quantity, on Twitter.

The complaints of the sources are legitimate. If arm's length and dumbed-down is the best we can do by going through journalism, then we have to do it for ourselves.

There are so many limits on the kinds of ideas that can make it through the press filter. The thing to do is to blow that up, and do better storytelling of the sophisticated ideas and the ideas that the sources don't want told. Focus on communicating what's; important. So many have given up. It's the lost promise of journalism.

So it's good that Twitter is ruining America. When a big tree falls there's lots of light for new growth. We could build a new one, smarter, with the discipline of knowing that new ideas can get out there without any help from journalism. That frees up journalism to do what only it can do.

PS: There's also this piece by Justin Rosenstein, an Asana co-founder, that I fully agree with. We can do much better with software. And we have, but it's mostly going unused. I think this is where the next layer of the net comes from.

PPS: I think Nick Denton probably sees this future pretty clearly, and I think the Washington Post, under Jeff Bezos, will probably have some good ideas quickly.

 10/11/13; 1:45:39 PM.

Trex under the GPL

A quick note, if anyone wants to explore running their own Trex server, I've made the Github repository public. There are no docs. There is a mail list you can use to ask questions.

As far as I know no one has gotten a server running from this repo, but it seems like it's possible. If you figure it out I hope you'll share what you learn.

I posted a comment about this on the smallpicture-web list.

 10/11/13; 12:56:17 PM.

Josh Marshall and Flipboard

I loved this piece from Josh Marshall about Flipboard.

His site, Talking Point Memo, is a creature of the open web, and these days most of what the tech industry develops is designed to seduce content off the open web and into silos, where it can be locked away from the rest of the web, and monetized in mysterious ways. The seduction, for users, is in the form of shiny objects that animate and scroll in interesting ways. And for authors and idea people it's exposure and brand-awareness.

Yesterday, after reading this piece I said something similar, that I prefer not to point to pieces that are posted on Medium. That preference has grown almost to a prohibition, that no matter how good or interesting an idea is, if it's expressed on Medium, I won't promote it. I know my promotion isn't worth that much, but I thought it was worth saying, so that people who post stuff there at least know that there is a small cost associated with posting it there.

I think I understand what Medium is doing, and that over time it's going to take people to the same kind of place Twitter took us. When Twitter came out it was of the web. They had a wonderful API that made all kinds of things possible, if you factored out the unreliability of the system. We were shown something, that once it worked, would serve as a notification system for the web. We loved the idea. The problem is this, that once it got reliable, the openness was foreclosed on. We were evicted, forced to take our dreams somewhere else. Medium is reliable from Day One, after all it's just a website and this is 2013, so that's not particularly hard to do. But what happens if the day comes when people insist on having stuff on Medium, and reject content that isn't there, the way at least some people do, today, with Flipboard? And what if they add features that make it impossible for it to be on the open web. Then we're screwed, as we were screwed by Twitter. I think Evan Williams is that crafty, as are the Flipboard guys, but I'm pretty sure they're aiming at the same place, even though they're starting at different ends of the spectrum. The place Twitter is at today. With a big Do Not Enter sign for developers, that eventually will turn into a similar sign for other role-players.

Will there come a day when Josh Marshall's content is not welcome in any of these places? Would you have foreseen the day that developers would be excluded from the Twitter platform? The one thing that's fairly certain, is that they will be able to continue publishing to their website for the indefinite future. That the tech industry and its investors have no control over that.

Now, I don't know any of this, but I've got an intuition about it, and I act on these intuitions. And I was glad to see Josh Marshall, who is not a technologist, stand up for his own interests. There's a lot we can do with that sentiment. And maybe if more people stick to the open web, and resist the pull of the silos, it will force the silos to be a little nicer to the people who create their success.

Think about that when Twitter does its IPO next month. How much of your creativity did you pour into their success, and how much do you get to participate in the windfall? Not very much? Then maybe you should learn from the experience.

 10/11/13; 10:21:28 AM.

Finally, three good 2013 movies

2013 had been a very frustrating year for movies because some looked like they might be great, either great concepts like Elysium or great directors/writers like Pacific Rim, but until this week, all had been disappointments.

Maybe it was the charm of a NakedJen visit, maybe the only one of the year, and our mini-film-fest, we saw two movies in 24 hours, who knows why -- and maybe I've just been missing the good ones, at least Quentin Tarantino thinks so.

Regardless, here are three good ones, and two of them at least qualify as great.

Enough Said

It was an involved, complicated plot, but you don't really see that in all its glory until the end of the movie. It's a story of human beings and our hopes and fears, at all ages. So many rich characters, so well played and the story so well told. The NY Times reviewer compared Enough Said to the earlier Woody Allen movies, and I think the comparison is a good one. It has what I was missing in the latest of his movies, the real awkwardness of being human. This would have been a great movie even if Gandolfini were still alive. And we'll always be wondering if he had lived, what other roles he might have played, because this most definitely was not Tony Soprano. Somewhat like the feeling I have about Heath Ledger in his last movie, what treats were we deprived of due to his early demise?


I knew the story pretty well, but it was nice to see all the Palo Alto spots where he grew up, all in neighborhoods I've lived in, and hear the story in the star's own words. It has all the elements of a Hollywood sports film, a Rocky of basketball.

The young star who no one gets because he's not like all the others, has two games left before getting cut from the Knicks, and this time it's probably for good. He sucks in the first game. Gets one more chance, realizes it might be his last NBA game, decides to have fun -- and he kills it. All of a sudden his mates are looking at each other with a look of WTF just happened here? They keep letting him play, and he keeps kicking ass.

The climax comes when he goes against the big star, Kobe Bryant of the Lakers, who says he doesn't even know who Lin is. Lin then whoops his ass. After the game the reporters ask Lin if he thinks Kobe has heard of him now. He says he thought of the obvious snotty comeback, but realized that Jesus probably wouldn't have said that so he says the gentle thing -- "You'd have to ask him." It's nice to know that inside Lin is a proud young man, but also nice to know that he keeps his hubris in check.

Would it be believable if it weren't the truth? Who cares!

This movie isn't getting a lot of distribution, so you may have to wait to see it on your computer, but it's a good one, especially for kids. Show them that talent lives inside you even if no one else gets it, if you believe in yourself there's nothing you can't accomplish.

It's a cliche, but in this case it's also the truth.


Gravity puts you in a strange world, one that we've all wondered about. It gradually becomes your reality, without you realizing it's happening.

I don't care that it gets some of the physics wrong, and that the plot is totally improbable (more likely impossible). I care that it has a story to tell, does it beautifully, makes you care about the characters, and takes you somewhere that I've never been and will never go, in reality. That's what great movies are about, and Gravity is a great movie.

That said it's a cringe-inducing film, at moments you want to close your eyes and not watch, but try to resist because it's all so beautifully done. Don't think about how they did it until you're out of the movie. And there's not much chance of that because the story is so compelling.

BTW, the name of the movie is something of a puzzle. Gravity is not one of the stars, in a physics sense, but it is the theme of the movie almost from the very beginning.

 10/11/13; 8:48:57 AM.

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