Archive for April, 2010
Steve Jobs has posted a rare open letter on Apple’s website entitled “Thoughts on Flash.” Here it is verbatim:
Apple has a long relationship with Adobe. In fact, we met Adobe’s founders when they were in their proverbial garage. Apple was their first big customer, adopting their Postscript language for our new Laserwriter printer. Apple invested in Adobe and owned around 20% of the company for many years. The two companies worked closely together to pioneer desktop publishing and there were many good times. Since that golden era, the companies have grown apart. Apple went through its near death experience, and Adobe was drawn to the corporate market with their Acrobat products. Today the two companies still work together to serve their joint creative customers – Mac users buy around half of Adobe’s Creative Suite products – but beyond that there are few joint interests.
I wanted to jot down some of our thoughts on Adobe’s Flash products so that customers and critics may better understand why we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. Adobe has characterized our decision as being primarily business driven – they say we want to protect our App Store – but in reality it is based on technology issues. Adobe claims that we are a closed system, and that Flash is open, but in fact the opposite is true. Let me explain.
First, there’s “Open”.
Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary. They are only available from Adobe, and Adobe has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc. While Adobe’s Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system.
Apple even creates open standards for the web. For example, Apple began with a small open source project and created WebKit, a complete open-source HTML5 rendering engine that is the heart of the Safari web browser used in all our products. WebKit has been widely adopted. Google uses it for Android’s browser, Palm uses it, Nokia uses it, and RIM (Blackberry) has announced they will use it too. Almost every smartphone web browser other than Microsoft’s uses WebKit. By making its WebKit technology open, Apple has set the standard for mobile web browsers.
Second, there’s the “full web”.
Adobe has repeatedly said that Apple mobile devices cannot access “the full web” because 75% of video on the web is in Flash. What they don’t say is that almost all this video is also available in a more modern format, H.264, and viewable on iPhones, iPods and iPads. YouTube, with an estimated 40% of the web’s video, shines in an app bundled on all Apple mobile devices, with the iPad offering perhaps the best YouTube discovery and viewing experience ever. Add to this video from Vimeo, Netflix, Facebook, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ESPN, NPR, Time, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, People, National Geographic, and many, many others. iPhone, iPod and iPad users aren’t missing much video.
Another Adobe claim is that Apple devices cannot play Flash games. This is true. Fortunately, there are over 50,000 games and entertainment titles on the App Store, and many of them are free. There are more games and entertainment titles available for iPhone, iPod and iPad than for any other platform in the world.
Third, there’s reliability, security and performance.
Symantec recently highlighted Flash for having one of the worst security records in 2009. We also know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash. We have been working with Adobe to fix these problems, but they have persisted for several years now. We don’t want to reduce the reliability and security of our iPhones, iPods and iPads by adding Flash.
In addition, Flash has not performed well on mobile devices. We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it. Adobe publicly said that Flash would ship on a smartphone in early 2009, then the second half of 2009, then the first half of 2010, and now they say the second half of 2010. We think it will eventually ship, but we’re glad we didn’t hold our breath. Who knows how it will perform?
Fourth, there’s battery life.
To achieve long battery life when playing video, mobile devices must decode the video in hardware; decoding it in software uses too much power. Many of the chips used in modern mobile devices contain a decoder called H.264 – an industry standard that is used in every Blu-ray DVD player and has been adopted by Apple, Google (YouTube), Vimeo, Netflix and many other companies.
Although Flash has recently added support for H.264, the video on almost all Flash websites currently requires an older generation decoder that is not implemented in mobile chips and must be run in software. The difference is striking: on an iPhone, for example, H.264 videos play for up to 10 hours, while videos decoded in software play for less than 5 hours before the battery is fully drained.
When websites re-encode their videos using H.264, they can offer them without using Flash at all. They play perfectly in browsers like Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome without any plugins whatsoever, and look great on iPhones, iPods and iPads.
Fifth, there’s Touch.
Even if iPhones, iPods and iPads ran Flash, it would not solve the problem that most Flash websites need to be rewritten to support touch-based devices.
Sixth, the most important reason.
Besides the fact that Flash is closed and proprietary, has major technical drawbacks, and doesn’t support touch based devices, there is an even more important reason we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. We have discussed the downsides of using Flash to play video and interactive content from websites, but Adobe also wants developers to adopt Flash to create apps that run on our mobile devices.
We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform. If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features. We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers.
This becomes even worse if the third party is supplying a cross platform development tool. The third party may not adopt enhancements from one platform unless they are available on all of their supported platforms. Hence developers only have access to the lowest common denominator set of features. Again, we cannot accept an outcome where developers are blocked from using our innovations and enhancements because they are not available on our competitor’s platforms.
Flash is a cross platform development tool. It is not Adobe’s goal to help developers write the best iPhone, iPod and iPad apps. It is their goal to help developers write cross platform apps. And Adobe has been painfully slow to adopt enhancements to Apple’s platforms. For example, although Mac OS X has been shipping for almost 10 years now, Adobe just adopted it fully (Cocoa) two weeks ago when they shipped CS5. Adobe was the last major third party developer to fully adopt Mac OS X.
Our motivation is simple – we want to provide the most advanced and innovative platform to our developers, and we want them to stand directly on the shoulders of this platform and create the best apps the world has ever seen. We want to continually enhance the platform so developers can create even more amazing, powerful, fun and useful applications. Everyone wins – we sell more devices because we have the best apps, developers reach a wider and wider audience and customer base, and users are continually delighted by the best and broadest selection of apps on any platform.
Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.
The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple’s mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content. And the 200,000 apps on Apple’s App Store proves that Flash isn’t necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games.
New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.Steve JobsApril, 2010
Utterly amazing installations by Heike Weber. She draws with permanentmarkers on acrylic floor and walls – surfaces that have reached up to 600 m2.
I can’t begin to imagine how time consuming these breathtaking installations must have been.
John Lennon’s Long Lost Stash of LSD Found Buried at His Kenwood Home
by Howard Wyman
[Via Billboard] According to Beatles lore, in 1967 the band sent emissaries to the Monterey Pop Festival in San Francisco posing as filmmakers with the real mission of tracking down The Bear, a.k.a. Owsley Stanley, famed LSD chef and sound technician. Allegedly, the agents of The Beatles found The Bear, obtained a shitload of liquid acid and smuggled it back to John Lennon, who later decided to bury what was left of it on the grounds of his house in Kenwood, Surrey once he and the other Beatles decided to give up drugs and try Transcendental Meditation instead. When they got back from India, though, Lennon changed his mind, tried to unearth his buried treasure, and couldn’t find it. Legend has it that the massive acid stash was never found, and so became the stuff of drug mythology.
When we ordered a Time Capsule, we chose the 500 GB model, since this was sufficient and also less expensive than the 1 TB. However we had in mind that as the price of large disks came down, we would one day change the disk for a larger one.
(Newser) – If you’re looking for a decisive, confident partner, try dating someone with type O blood. Type As are dependable worrywarts, ABs are balanced but high-maintenance, and if you’ve been burned by a selfish ex, blame their type B blood. That’s the conventional wisdom in Japan, where people believe blood group determines personality—a belief that plays out in dating, the workplace and even politics.
One of the most offbeat attractions in the United States, the Seattle Gum Wall is also one of the most germ infected tourist spot in the world.
Located in Post Alley, under Park Place Market, the Gum Wall has its beginning in the early 1990s, when people, irritated that they had to wait in line to get tickets to the theater, stuck chewing gum on the wall. At first, they would use the gum to stick small coins to the wall, but in time, the tradition of the coins disappeared, and the gum remained.
Theater attendants scraped the Gum Wall twice, but gave up in 1999, when it became a certified tourist attraction of Seattle. Now it is filled with thousands of pieces of chewing gum, of any color imaginable. And, as the wall grows, the chewing gum art becomes more sophisticated. You’ll find names written with pieces of gum, and symbols like hearts or the peace sign.
But, the Seattle Gum Wall is also one of the germiest tourist destinations on Earth. In a ranking made by Trip Advisor, it came in second place, after Ireland’s Blarney Stone.
This Swedish organization publishes anonymous submissions and leaks of sensitive documents from governments and other organizations. WikiLeaks protects its sources. There is no better whistleblower website on the internet. In fact, The National said, in 2009, “WikiLeaks has probably produced more scoops in its short life than the Washington Post has in the past 30 years.”
PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer ignored criticism from President Barack Obama on Friday and signed into law a bill supporters said would take handcuffs off police in dealing with illegal immigration in Arizona, the nation’s busiest gateway for human and drug smuggling from Mexico.
Alex Tabarrok posts the above picture of “Chauncy Morlan (1869-1906) who, because of his ‘freakish’ weight, people once paid good money to see as he toured Europe and America with the Barnum & Bailey circus” and asks:
What would the circus goers of 1890 have thought if they were told that in the America of 2010 Chauncy Morlan would be unremarkable?
Creepy Black and White Photos
Commentary & Analysis
Gary JohnsonGary E. Johnson
Board member, Students for a Sensible Drug Policy
Author, “Seven Principles of Good Government”
Former Governor of New Mexico (R)
It’s time we tax and regulate marijuana. The War on Drugs is a proven failure. We have spent several decades and close to a trillion dollars trying to eliminate drugs.
Consider these facts:
* The last three Presidents and half of American adults have said they have smoked marijuana.
* More children have tried marijuana, which is illegal, than cigarettes, which are regulated.
* Last year we arrested 850,000 people for marijuana, mostly for possession.
* So far, fourteen states have passed medical marijuana laws enabling sick people to benefit.
* Massachusetts, Denver, and Seattle have either successfully decriminalized, or instituted lowest priority law enforcement policies for marijuana possession.
We learned a valuable lesson with alcohol prohibition in this country. Prohibition created black markets and violence as gangs fought to control the market. The same thing is true today. Mexican cartels make the majority of their profits distributing marijuana in 230 American cities, and the resulting violence is tragic. That’s why the presidents of many Latin American countries signed a declaration that the war on drugs needs to be ended.
Lower Merion School District employees activated the web cameras and tracking software on laptops they gave to high school students about 80 times in the past two school years, snapping nearly 56,000 images that included photos of students, pictures inside their homes and copies of the programs or files running on their screens, district investigators have concluded.
In most of the cases, technicians turned on the system after a student or staffer reported a laptop missing and turned it off when the machine was found, the investigators determined.
But in at least five instances, school employees let the Web cams keep clicking for days or weeks after students found their missing laptops, according to the review. Those computers – programmed to snap a photo and capture a screen shot every 15 minutes when the machine was on – fired nearly 13,000 images back to the school district servers.
The data, given to The Inquirer on Monday by a school district lawyer, represents the most detailed account yet of how and when Lower Merion used the remote tracking system, a practice that has sparked a civil rights lawsuit, an FBI investigation and new federal legislation.
The radical Islamic Web site Revolutionmuslim.com is going after the creators of the TV cartoon series “South Park” after an episode last week included an image of the Prophet Mohammed in disguise.
Natasha, a five-year-old macaque living at Safari Park, near Tel Aviv, almost died from a severe case of the stomach flu. When she recovered she started walking upright like a human, no longer dropping down on all fours or using her hands to move along .
A zoo veterinarian says he has no idea why this happened but maybe the flu left Natasha with some brain damage.
[From Natasha the walking macaque]
My process is always changing. Typically I collect images, diagrams, math and words and surround myself with them before I begin a set of pieces – though once I start working I only refer to them rarely. I throw it all into the brain blender and see what comes out. I usually work on several pieces at a time because creating certain effects in clay is labor intensive and then when something doesn’t fit it usually get used somewhere else. I try to sculpt freely, creating parts, using them or not, and see what begins to appear. I sketch the larger overreaching ideas as they come and maybe use them or not. I’m always playing with the balance of tackling the technical challenges the clay poses, with the desire to keep moving forward with more immediate techniques. Most importantly though, I try to keep my head out of it and work from a open & quiet state.
What’s new in Photoshop CS5
Adobe® Photoshop® CS5 software redefines digital imaging with a strong focus on photography; breakthrough capabilities for superior image selections, image retouching, and realistic painting; and a wide range of workflow and performance enhancements.
OpenCola is a brand of cola unique in that the instructions for making it are freely available and modifiable. Anybody can make the drink, and anyone can modify and improve on the recipe as long as they, too, license their recipe under the GNU General Public License. Since recipes are, by themselves, not copyrightable, the legal basis for this is untested.
Although originally intended as a promotional tool to explain free and open source software, the drink took on a life of its own and 150,000 cans were sold. The Toronto-based company Opencola founded by Grad Conn, Cory Doctorow, and John Henson became better known for the drink than the software it was supposed to promote. Laird Brown, the company’s senior strategist, attributes its success to a widespread mistrust of big corporations and the “proprietary nature of almost everything.”
Thinking about file-sharing? Don’t. You’ll get fined, and crime doesn’t pay (unless you rob banks and/or armored cars, then it pays very well). Take it from Jammie Thomas, who was fined $2 million for downloading 24 songs, or anyone else who tried to fight the RIAA.
Instead, try another crime, because plenty of them draw far lighter penalties than downloading Jason Mraz’s latest. Thanks to the Mechanics blog at Gapers Block, here are seven crimes that will get you smaller fines than file-sharing:
1. Child abduction: the fine is only like $25000.
2. Stealing the actual CD: the fine is $2,500
3. Rob your neighbor: the fine is $375,000
4. Burn a house down: The fine is just over $375,000
5. Stalk someone: The fine is $175,000
6. Start a dogfighting ring: the fine is $50,000
7. Murder someone: The maximum penalty is only $25,000 and 15 years in jail, and depending on your yearly salary, would probably be far slighter a penalty that $2 million.
When I first looked at the photos, I thought the “mirror man” was a sculpture. But I found this information from a photographer nicknamed SilverSky who took the pictures, he states “I was in LA and this guy shows up in a suit from head to toe made of glass. I thought it was pretty cool.”
Black Bean Burger
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed and roughly smashed
2/3 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup chickpea flour (with additional 2Tbsp if needed)
1/3 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes, the soft kind marinated in oil
1 Tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 3 tbsp water, microwaved for 20 seconds
2 tsp liquid smoke
salt and pepper to taste