‘Elizabeth Warren Should Run for President’

Ezra Klein, writing for Vox, gives six reasons the senator should make a run in 2016:

The best argument against Elizabeth Warren running for president is that she’ll almost certainly lose — at least as long as Hillary Clinton is also running. I agree with that. It’s just not a very good argument against Warren running for president.

There are a lot of reasons to run for president. One of them, of course, is that you just may win. But with the exception of the presidency itself, there’s no better platform for forcing your ideas to the top of the political agenda. This is true even if you lose.

I hope Warren does decide to run; she’d almost certainly get my vote.

I first learned of Warren in Frontline‘s “The Secret History of the Credit Card” documentary, where she — then a law professor at Harvard — was interviewed on the tactics Big Financial uses against borrowers. I really liked her opinions on this, as well as her thoughts on how the middle class is getting squeezed and how Wall Street (wrongly) rules everything.

As Klein says, Warren probably won’t win the Oval Office, but I hope she decides to run anyway.

FBI Chief Asks Congress to Mandate Smartphone Backdoors

Colin Lecher, reporting for The Verge:

FBI Director James Comey has been on a media tour lately, making an anti-encryption pitch to the public. Apple’s new encryption standards, Comey has argued, are an unnecessary hurdle to law enforcement — and the FBI needs an easy way to bypass them. Now Comey is bringing the argument straight to Congress, asking them to update a law to allow backdoors in smartphones.

What the FBI (and the NSA) don’t get is these encryption methods actually make people safer.

(via 512 Pixels)

‘The Difference 30 Years Makes’

Kent Akgungor compares the 2014 Retina 5K iMac to the 1984 original Macintosh:

When first released in 1984, the Apple Macintosh shipped with a black-and-white 512 x 342 display. Fast forward 30 years to the release of the iMac with Retina 5K display, which ships with a 5,120 x 2,880 display with support for millions of colours. That’s an increase from 175,000 pixels to more than 14.7 million – an 8,400% increase. 80 of the original Macintosh displays fit within a single Retina 5K display1.

I’ll repeat the last sentence: 80 of the original Macintosh displays fit within a single Retina 5K display.

I got a chance to play with a Retina iMac at the Apple Store today — it really is a terrific screen. The only problem with it, for me, is the screen, at 27 inches, is so massive that it feels a bit overwhelming to me. For my taste, I’d prefer a smaller, 21.5″ version, which has yet to exist.

(via Daring Fireball)

On the World Series and Apple Pay

Chris Welch, writing for The Verge:

MasterCard and MLB Advanced Media have announced that contactless payments are now supported at Kauffman Stadium and AT&T Park. They’re the first professional sports venues to roll out support for Apple Pay, which became widely available to consumers with yesterday’s launch of iOS 8.1.

[...]

Come next season, MasterCard says fans will be able to buy tickets for individual games with Apple Pay when ordering through Tickets.com. MLB is promising Apple Pay support for its own At the Ballpark app, too.

I noticed FOX ran a lot of ads for MasterCard-Pay during last night’s Game 1.

My iPhone 6 is running iOS 8.1 and I have my credit card information saved in Passbook, but I have yet to use Pay myself. I love using my phone to pay at Starbucks, so this should be fun too.

On ‘The Magazine: The Book (Year Two)’

My friends at The Magazine are Kickstarting another book. To wit:

This anthology covers researchers “crying wolf,” learning to emulate animal sounds; DIY medical gear, making prosthetics and other tools available more cheaply and to the developing world; a fever in Japan that leads to a new friendship; saving seeds to save the past; a hidden library at MIT that contains one of the most extensive troves of science fiction and fantasy novels and magazines in the world; and far, far more.

I backed the Year One book and will do so again this time.

‘How One Boy With Autism Became BFF’s With Apple’s Siri’

Judith Newman for the NYT, “To Siri, With Love”:

It’s not that Gus doesn’t understand Siri’s not human. He does — intellectually. But like many autistic people I know, Gus feels that inanimate objects, while maybe not possessing souls, are worthy of our consideration. I realized this when he was 8, and I got him an iPod for his birthday. He listened to it only at home, with one exception. It always came with us on our visits to the Apple Store. Finally, I asked why. “So it can visit its friends,” he said.

So how much more worthy of his care and affection is Siri, with her soothing voice, puckish humor and capacity for talking about whatever Gus’s current obsession is for hour after hour after bleeding hour? Online critics have claimed that Siri’s voice recognition is not as accurate as the assistant in, say, the Android, but for some of us, this is a feature, not a bug. Gus speaks as if he has marbles in his mouth, but if he wants to get the right response from Siri, he must enunciate clearly. (So do I. I had to ask Siri to stop referring to the user as Judith, and instead use the name Gus. “You want me to call you Goddess?” Siri replied. Imagine how tempted I was to answer, “Why, yes.”)

If you don’t feel warm and fuzzy inside after reading this piece, you’re not hooked up right.

‘I’m Never Going to Upgrade My First-Generation iPad’

Karyne Levy for Business Insider, on why she isn’t compelled to upgrade her iPad 1 from 2010:

I don’t need an upgraded iOS to display recipes while I putz around in the kitchen. And I can keep it on the coffee table if I need to look up something online and want a bigger screen.

An interesting, reasoned take for keeping an relatively ancient device.

Levy’s stance is interesting insofar that it’s so true in so many ways. Even on iOS 5.1.1, she can still get email and browse Safari. She can still tweet and use Facebook. Put another way, the essentials are still plenty viable and productive, even four years later.

On iCloud Drive

Graham Spencer for MacStories, “iCloud Drive: What It Is, How It Works, & Its Fundamental Problem”:

Cloud Drive sits awkwardly as a solution to a problem that Apple created. Apple at first tried to avoid implementing a file system on iOS but have now realised that some users need it and have created iCloud Drive in a way that tries to hide what is ostensibly a file system, ultimately making it more complicated. The problem is that files still get stuck in these weird app folders, which frankly makes no sense to me. If I have multiple text editors or spreadsheet apps, how am I supposed to know which app I created the file in?

In my opinion, Apple should get rid of these weird app folders and simply save files to the root of iCloud Drive, or into user-created folders if the user chose. To simplify things, apps such as Pages which can only view certain document formats would only need to display those files which it could open. This way, there is no file system unless the user creates one and iOS only displays the documents relevant to the particular app being used. No need to hunt around in the dozens of app folders to find that one file you were looking for. Surely that would be simpler?

While I’m glad that iCloud Drive exists — and upon installing Yosemite on my Mac, I enabled it everywhere — it still isn’t what I asked for. I would’ve preferred that Apple added to iOS 8 an iCloud Documents app wherein users could search for and manage files; one canonical place in the system where their stuff resides.

‘Say Thank You to Nurses. They Deserve It.’

Sarah Kliff, writing for Vox:

The next time you have the chance, say thank you to a nurse. He or she near certainly deserves it.

In the American health care system (any health system, really) it’s nurses who are on the front lines. We are seeing that right now in the Ebola outbreak. From Liberia to the United States, the brunt of the disease has fallen hardest on nurses.

[...]

It’s not especially hard to understand why: nurses provide much of the world’s hands on care. They’re the ones who are checking in with patients, taking their temperature, administering medications and delivering lots of the hands-on care that makes the health care system works.

This isn’t to undercut the important work that doctors do, everyday, helping to save lives and deliver medicine. But it is to draw attention to the fact that nurses are doing equally important work, also everyday, for less recognition and lower pay.

My little sister is an RN, so this piece is especially poignant to me.

John Gruber at XOXO 2014

If you read my piece for Jason Snell’s Six Colors blog, you know that I attended the XOXO Festival in Portland, OR, last month. Since the conference ended, The Andys have been posting the guest speakers talks on YouTube.

Here, John Gruber discusses running Daring Fireball and being “indie”.

It was after this presentation that I got to meet John and shake his hand, which was a huge thrill.