August 2, 2015

Helsinki wants to kill the car

Finnish capital Helsinki has big plans regarding public transportation, making it entirely up to you where you want to go. No more bus stops, or a need forma car within the city for that matter. The Guardian:

Subscribers would specify an origin and a destination, and perhaps a few preferences. The app would then function as both journey planner and universal payment platform, knitting everything from driverless cars and nimble little buses to shared bikes and ferries into a single, supple mesh of mobility.

When I’m gone (no, not me)

I’ve been thinking long and hard about what to write regarding the When I’m Gone piece. The only thing I can think of is this: life is fucking hard and unforgiven, and yet we do things like this. Fair warning, this story is painful, and a must read.

July 31, 2015

Twitter and its course

From Buzzfeed’s story on Jack Dorsey and his whirlwind of actions as the interim Twitter CEO:

Twitter can no longer simply stay the course; it needs to chart a new one that others — users, investors, the media, and the company’s own leadership — can understand and follow.

That’s exactly it. Twitter is in a great spot to stay relevant, but that means that they have to stop hugging their old ideas and concept. I think they’ll need to open up again, become the platform, because then developers could possibly do great things with the data, and that would be their upper hand. Sadly, I doubt that’ll happen.

July 27, 2015

Magic glass

I’m looking at images of Pluto and (the moon) Hydra on my phone, sent from a spacecraft that’s passing by. Science is awesome, and having a magical piece of glass and metal that gives me immediate access to that is sometimes mind boggling. Try to remember that the next time you refresh Twitter for the umpteenth time, wondering what it’s all good for.

July 23, 2015

Apple Music issues

Jim Dalrymple have had some serious issues with Apple Music:

At some point, enough is enough. That time has come for me—Apple Music is just too much of a hassle to be bothered with. Nobody I’ve spoken at Apple or outside the company has any idea how to fix it, so the chances of a positive outcome seem slim to none.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, Apple Music gave me one more kick in the head. Over the weekend, I turned off Apple Music and it took large chunks of my purchased music with it. Sadly, many of the songs were added from CDs years ago that I no longer have access to. Looking at my old iTunes Match library, before Apple Music, I’m missing about 4,700 songs. At this point, I just don’t care anymore, I just want Apple Music off my devices.

This doesn’t mirror my experience of Apple Music, but it points out that there are kinks left to sort out. Hopefully Apple can help Jim out, as a music lover who’s lost way too many albums over the years, for various reasons, I feel for him. Music listening is one of those things that really just has to work.

July 21, 2015

Jimmy Wales launches social network

From Jimmy Wales’s manifesto for the new, ad free, social network Tpo:

We spend your money on causes that you care about, rather than advertising.

And you help us spread the word. To help you do that, I’ve designed a whole new social network – similar to Twitter but better – and I’m hoping it will be massive.

So where does said money come from? Again, Jimmy Wales, replying to a question on Tpo:

Yes, social network open to everyone, funded by a phone subscription, but 10% of your bill also goes to the cause of your choice.

July 20, 2015

The end of capitalism

From the interesting Guardian piece, The end of capitalism has begun:

It is the elites – cut off in their dark-limo world – whose project looks as forlorn as that of the millennial sects of the 19th century. The democracy of riot squads, corrupt politicians, magnate-controlled newspapers and the surveillance state looks as phoney and fragile as East Germany did 30 years ago.

All readings of human history have to allow for the possibility of a negative outcome. It haunts us in the zombie movie, the disaster movie, in the post-apocalytic wasteland of films such as The Road or Elysium. But why should we not form a picture of the ideal life, built out of abundant information, non-hierarchical work and the dissociation of work from wages?

Interesting thoughts in this piece, but let’s read it for what it is: A dream about the future, with some valid points, sure, but it’s not a roadmap, nor an ideology.

Commodore PET

Commodore PET, not the computer, launches in Italy, France, Germany, and Poland, soon. Wired:

Now it’s appearing on a smartphone created by a pair of Italian entrepreneurs. It’s called the PET—sharing its name with Commodore’s other iconic PC—and its custom Android build includes two emulators so owners can enjoy old C64 and Amiga games.

This isn’t the first time a product’s been built around the classic Commodore (or Amiga) brand. The chances for this smartphone are slim, I’d say. Maybe it’s time to let the Commodore brand rest?

July 17, 2015

Marshall London

The Marshall brand is on a lot of things these days, including headphones. While headphones makes sense, a smartphone might not, and yet there’s now a $600 Android thing called Marshall London. But despite the dual headphone connectors, and the Marshall branding obviously, you don’t get much bang for the buck. Gizmodo sums it up nicely:

Under the hood, the phone’s core specs are barely respectable compared to a top-of-the-line handset. It’s got a 4.7-inch 720p IPS display, which is going to feel pretty tiny and low-res compared to today’s 5-inch=plus QHD displays. It’s got 2GB of RAM, 16GB of on-board storage, plus a Micro-SD slot. It’ll run Android Lollipop at launch, which is great! But that Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 chipset is a few years old, and might drag compared to a new flagship. We don’t know much about the 8 megapixel camera, but it’s lower resolution than the most up-to-date phones. It’s a low-spec handset, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean bad.

I see no reason what so ever to consider the Marshall London, unless you’re a die hard Marshall fan that wants to match it with your t-shirt and headphones. In which case I’ll just remind you that unless you actually hook up your guitar to a Marshall amp, a product line with pedigree and quality, you’re basically buying a look. I guess that’s fine too.