Archive for December, 2012

→ GOP Trying to Become the Aspirational Party

Ramesh Ponnuru writing at Bloomberg:

Even the language the three men are using these days is similar. “We need to show folks that we are an aspirational party,” Jindal said. “We need to be the party that represents the upward mobility,” a party that believes “every single American has the same American dream, and we want to help them.”

I think this is similar to what the Democrat Party went through after losing in 2004. They realized their message was not resonating with the American people and they started to change the way they conveyed it. I think that the Republican Party now has to do the same thing, since I strongly believe that if people understand what the actual conservative positions were, they would support them in droves. I hope people like Governor Jindal, Congressman Ryan, and Senator Rubio are up to the task.

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→ Riccardo Mori writing about his first Month on App.Net

But what really stands out, for me, is the atmosphere. So far, it’s probably what I like most of App.net. First of all there’s that different pace I was mentioning before. The feeling is of a quieter place than Twitter, and not only because it’s a much smaller place. People seem more relaxed, friendlier, more willing to engage in long conversations and more willing to include you if you join in a conversation long after it’s started. With Twitter, I think social network; with App.net, I think community. This is the core difference, in my opinion. Two main things drive people towards this behaviour, I believe: the paid membership model, intertwined with ‘the cause’. An App.net member may be a stranger to you, but you’re both on App.net because you both have decided to pay for a better online social experience and because — explicitly or not — you both agree to ‘the cause’, i.e. the set of core values on which the founders chose to build and develop App.net.

I agree completely.

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→ OmniGroup’s Plans for 2013

Omnifocus 2 for Mac will make its public debut on January 31st at Macworld, Omnioutliner 4 is scheduled for release in Q1 of 2013, and OmniPresence will allow syncing across the Omni apps and other apps. It should be a really big start of the year for the OmniGroup. Also interesting is their approach to the Mac App Store and upgrade pricing:

Finally, with OmniFocus 2 coming we’ve been thinking a lot about how to implement upgrade pricing from Mac App Store apps. As always, we plan to offer discounted upgrade pricing on our own online store, but unfortunately we don’t have that flexibility in the Mac App Store. We’ve decided to treat the Mac App Store the same way as we treat retail stores: it’s a great way to discover our software, and can give you confidence that it’s been vetted by a third party. And, just as you wouldn’t get a discount from a retail store if you purchase OmniGraffle 5 while owning OmniGraffle 4, you won’t get a discount if you purchase OmniFocus 2 from the Mac App Store. But we’re in the process of updating our store so that you’ll be able to register your Mac App Store apps to get a discounted upgrade price when you buy an update directly from us.

Interesting. I wonder if other Mac developers will follow Omni’s lead in that approach.

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→ Texas Guard Myck Kabongo reportedly Suspended for the Year

The NCAA is a disgrace. The one positive out of the development of 4-5 “super conferences” is that they might have enough power to just toss the NCAA aside.

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→ Twitter officially rolling out option to download archived tweets to everyone

The headline is a little misleading. The key line:

“Over the coming weeks and months,” access will be expanded to everyone, regardless of language or location.

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→ Mark Waid’s Thrillbent Joins ComiXology in a Digital Distribution Deal

I was wondering when we would get a good, digital app version of the Mark Waid’s Thrillbent stuff. I had always thought there would be a Thrillbent specific app, but this strategy works too. Even though I read the stuff on Thrillbent.com, I am still going to buy them in Comixology to show my support of the free-digital-first model.

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→ Tumblr launches its long-awaited app for iPad

Good for Tumblr. Maybe this will help motivate me to give the service another try.

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→ Tim Tebow ‘disappointed’ in being passed over for Jets’ starting quarterback job

The Jets are a disaster. Even though it comes as no surprise, I am impressed with the way Tebow has handled himself through this circus.

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→ Nilay Patel Argues that Instagram cannot Sell Your Photos

I disagree with his analysis.1 Nilay focuses on this clause:

To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.

and says that the “in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions” language is limiting on what Instragram can do with your photos. My issue is that there is no definition of what “paid content,” “sponsored content,” or “promotions” really means. It is possible that Instagram could hide behind this language to make wider use of uploaded photos than Nilay suggests. Nilay further argues that “Instagram can’t sell your photos to anyone.” This ignores, however, the following clause:

[Y]ou hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service

In other words, Instagram might not be able to “sell your photos” but the license could be read as allowing it to freely license them. I believe that a license to an advertiser to use a photo is what most people think of when they say “sell photos.” I think it’s misleading for Nilay to say “Instagram can’t sell your photos to anyone, for example” without explaining the licensing aspect.2

The disagreement that Nilay and I have about the new Terms of Service should make it obvious that the new terms and the rights that they give Instagram are not particularly clear. Though some people might be viewing the terms through too harsh a lens, I think that Nilay’s take is much too optimistic. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.


  1. Two things: (1) this post is not a full analysis of Instagram’s proposed new Terms of Service and should not be interpreted as such, and (2) this post touches on copyright law but is not legal advice. If you have questions about copyright law, especially in relation to your photos, I suggest you contact your attorney. 

  2. As Nilay points out, a number of photosharing sites, including Facebook, have similar language. The main lesson from this whole ordeal is probably that people who post photos on various services should review the terms of service of all of those services. 

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→ The Best Thing You’ll Read on Preventing Mass-Murder Tragedies

Clayton E. Cramer first breaks down why new weapons bans are not the solution, and then gets to the real issue:

If we are serious about reducing these relatively rare (less than 1 percent of U.S. murders are incidents of mass murder) but terrifying tragedies, we need to be looking at the root cause: untreated or inadequately treated mental illness. Focusing on the weapons may be good politics, but the experimental evidence suggests that it is bad public policy.

I strongly recommend you read the whole piece.

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→ What Stephen Drew Means To Boston’s Shortstop Prospects

Marc Normandin writing at Over the Monster:

For now, though, what we know is that Drew is the current shortstop, the depth at the position has been improved because of it, and Iglesias will get more time to develop a bat that needs the help. For money that Boston has, and at just one year, that’s an all-around win-win for the Red Sox.

Sounds good to me.

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→ iPad in Real Life: Erik Hess, F-5N Tiger II Pilot

This is just so frakkin’ cool.

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→ Report: Oakley sues Rory McIlroy and Nike over breach of contract

I am posting this just because it involves both golf and a lawsuit. I have not read the complaint, but the numbers quoted look enormous.

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→ What If? – Three Wise Men

The questions they answer:

The story of the three wise men got me wondering: What if you did walk towards a star at a fixed speed?  What path would you trace on the Earth? Does it converge to a fixed cycle?

The answer includes the phrase “[i]f the three wise men had a hovercar.” Do you really need more information to help you decide if you want to read the rest?

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→ Instagram Attempts to Monetize, World Doesn’t End

Matt Alexander, writing at one37.net:

We, as the early-adopting public, should be accustomed to the systematic deconstruction of our most favorite services. Once a safe-haven for general geekery, Twitter has forsaken our third party apps and has embarked upon a path to become a media-centric company. For all of our argumentative whining against this shift, we are simply not the target demographic any more. Having helped the service gain critical plaudits, our purpose and role has been subverted by the ongoing deluge of the hashtag-using, TV-watching, web-interface-appreciating public.

I think that sums up the most depressing part of this whole story.

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→ Mark Sanchez turns the ball over five times, ends Jets’ playoff hopes

I love the Jets.

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→ Jeremy Lin and the Rockets Beat the Knicks…Again

I always enjoy stories like this. Guy gets, essentially, kicked out town, and then comes back to beat his old team. It is even better that it is the Knicks getting beat.

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Hot in Fever – Gruber’s Post on Dropbox as the iOS Linchpin

Currently hot in my Fever instance – Gruber’s Post on Dropbox as the iOS Linchpin

The original post and a subsequent followup from Gruber. The major quote that people have latched onto is:

The scary part though, is that one recurrent theme I see in nearly every single “how I write on the iPad” story is Dropbox. It’s the linchpin in the workflow.

My favorite response comes from Ben Brooks:

Here’s the thing though: iCloud’s problem is a UX/UI issue (i.e., easily fixed). Dropbox could easily shift into iCloud, but that’s not the service that they sell and they won’t get that kind of OS level integration from Apple or Microsoft — both have competing services — and therefore a technically easy shift becomes nearly impossible because of the competitive landscape

Really good take and something I had not considered.

Links related to this:

→ Instagram backlash is Flickr’s gain

Could Marissa Mayer have asked for a better opportunity? Plus, it comes just a few days after Yahoo released an impressive new Flickr app.. Let the exodus begin.

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→ Matt Alexander’s Mirrorless Camera Pick

Matt is leaning toward the Sony NEX-5R. I have also heard good things about that model.

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