The Verge’s Review of the Retina 5K iMac

David Pierce, reporting for The Verge:

The 27-inch screen on the iMac with Retina display is, in a word, awesome. I just don’t mean that it’s very good — I mean it is genuinely awe-inspiring. It’s the kind of screen you look at and your jaw drops. You look at it and you don’t want to look away. It’s the kind of screen that makes my tweets look somehow more impressive by virtue of sheer, spectacular clarity.

On Madison Bumgarner

Michael Powell for the NYT, “OMG, You’re So Much More Than Awesome”:

Then Kevin pulled out his phone. He had texted Madison after the eighth inning, and he tried to read it to me. He began to choke up and just handed me the phone.

“OMG. You’re so much more than awesome,” Kevin had written to his son. “To see you work on the mound reminds me of watching you in high school. You are willing yourself to perfection and dragging the team along with you. I couldn’t be more proud of your baseball accomplishments.”

‘Thank You, Tim Cook’

Casey Newton for The Verge, on the significance of Tim Cook’s public acknowledgment of his sexuality:

And that’s the thing. It is one thing for the media to whisper to one another, or to post on their blogs, that the CEO of America’s most valuable company is a gay man. And it is a quite another for the man himself to step up to the microphone, with confidence and grace, and tell us himself. We knew Cook was gay; what we didn’t know is how he felt about it. Or, at a time when being gay is still very much a political act, what he planned to do with it.

‘I’m So Proud to Be Gay’

Tim Cook for Bloomberg Businessweek, “Tim Cook Speaks Up”:

While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.

[...]

I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.

In response, these tweets say it all.

‘Rehearsing for Death’

Launa Hall, in an op-ed for The Washington Post on doing lockdown drills with preschoolers:

When you’re guiding 4- and 5-year-olds through a drill, your choice of words can mean everything. “Activity,” not “game,” because we laugh during games, and I can’t risk introducing laughter. I don’t say “police,” because some little kids find police officers scary, and I can’t risk introducing tears. Instead, even though our principal isn’t there this day, I want them to picture his kind but purposeful face when they hear the police officers and administrators hustling down the hallway, testing the doorknob of each room. I don’t say “quiet,” because I can’t risk them shushing one another while they are crammed together, practically sitting in each other’s laps. And because it’s not quiet that’s required for this drill, but rather complete silence. As silent as children who aren’t there at all.

Fire drills I get. Earthquake drills — here in California, at least — I get. Preparing for natural disasters make sense.

“Lockdown” drills, on the other hand, are just ludicrous. This isn’t to say they’re unnecessary so much as they’re sad. School shootings are on the rise, and it’s a sad reality that preschools have to prepare for this shit too.

‘It’s One of the Few Prison Publications By and For the Prisoners’

Jessica Pishko for the Columbia Journalism Review, on the publication of the San Quentin Times:

The San Quentin News is one of the very few inmate-run publications in the country. Operating within the walls of San Quentin State Penitentiary in Marin County, CA, the approximately 20-page monthly newspaper is staffed entirely by inmates. The newsroom recently moved to a new building just off of the prison’s main yard, where inmates with privileges play basketball and sit outside to chat. Inside the room, a television plays the news, and inmates sit around the few computers, working to make their deadlines. They produce the paper without internet access, depending on non-inmate reporters for research. Because I am a member of the so-called “free world,” many staffers ask me about recent changes in prison policy, such as the California district court’s recent moratorium on the death penalty.

While their focus has primarily been to provide information for current inmates, SQN hopes to extend its reach beyond the 11,500 print run it currently maintains, funded solely by private donors and grants. (California stripped away funding for many prison programs in 2010.) To assist in its efforts, it has recruited the help of a team of students from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, as well as a host of volunteers from the community, some of whom run the paper’s website. Volunteers from Berkeley’s School of Journalism work with the writers to perfect their skills. In February, the SQN was awarded a prize by the Society of Professional Journalists for the paper’s “invaluable public service, not just to fellow prisoners but to the general public at large.”

This is a very cool story; I love these pro-rehabilitative prison programs.

‘Out of School’ 108: iOS Accessibility

I had the pleasure of joining my pal Bradley Chambers on the latest episode of his podcast. We discussed, of course, Accessibility on iOS and my history as a tech writer.

Jason Snell’s Review of the 27-inch Retina 5K iMac

In closing his review, Snell writes:

As for me, I ordered the 4.0GHz i7 upgrade with the faster GPU and a 512GB SSD. I pledge my allegiance to iMac Nation. Long may its millions of pixels reign.

On CVS and Rite-Aid Rejecting Apple Pay

John Gruber, “Retailers Are Disabling NFC to Block Apple Pay”:

What Apple gets and what no one else in the industry does is that using your mobile device for payments will only work if it’s far easier and better than using a credit card. With CurrentC, you’ll have to unlock your phone, launch their app, point your camera at a QR code, and wait. With Apple Pay, you just take out your phone and put your thumb on the Touch ID sensor.

Tim Cook was exactly right on stage last month when he introduced Apple Pay: it’s the only mobile payment solution designed around improving the customer experience. CurrentC is designed around the collection of customer data and the ability to offer coupons and other junk. Here is what a printed receipt from CVS looks like. It looks like a joke, but that’s for real. And that’s the sort of experience they want to bring to mobile payments.

More than security and convenience, Apple Pay has another huge advantage: accessibility. I’ve used Apple Pay twice now since iOS 8.1 shipped last week, and it’s been every bit as easy — and dare I say, magical — as Tim Cook hyped it to be at the September press event. But more than that, Apple Pay has the potential to be such an asset to the disabled. In my case, as someone with low vision and (mild) cerebral palsy, no longer do I have to fumble around my wallet trying to find my credit card or struggle with swiping my card into the terminal. All I do is pull my phone out of my pocket, rest my thumb on the home button, and I’m done. No eye strain, no dexterity issues, nothing. Just tag and go.

(If these sentiments sounds familiar, it’s because I wrote about a similar impact regarding Touch ID last year, after the iPhone 5S introduction.)

‘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.