Android, the Turd of An OS

Jim Dalrymple, in response to yet another story on Android malware:

I’m shocked at the lack of security in this piece of shit operating system. SHOCKED!

This is classic Dalrymple; he’s been on fire lately.

Apple Refreshes Retina Display MacBook Pros

Per Cupertino’s press release:

The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display features dual-core Intel Core i5 processors up to 2.8 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3 GHz and 8GB of memory, up from 4GB in the entry-level notebook. The 13-inch model can also be configured with faster dual-core Intel Core i7 processors up to 3.0 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.5 GHz. The top-of-the-line 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display has a new, lower starting price of $2,499. The 15-inch model features faster quad-core Intel Core i7 processors up to 2.5 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.7 GHz, 16GB of memory, up from 8GB in the entry-level notebook, and can be configured with quad-core Intel Core i7 processors up to 2.8 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 4.0 GHz

I don’t normally link to news of minor product revisions, but today’s updates resonate with me for one simple reason: my MacBook is really showing its age. I think more and more about upgrading to a 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro — with 16GB of RAM — because not only would it be a stellar upgrade but also the high resolution display would make my eyes happy and make Yosemite look great.

Maybe I’ll ask Santa for one this Christmas.

Introducing the Sarah Palin Channel

Ashley Alman, writing for The Huffington Post:

The site will feature political commentary, interviews, user-contributed content and updates from the Palin household.

“Together, we’ll go beyond the sound bites and cut through the media’s politically correct filter and things like Washington, D.C.’s crony capitalism,” Palin promises in the launch video. “We’ll talk about the issues that the mainstream media won’t talk about and we’ll look at the ideas that I think Washington doesn’t want you to hear.”

The channel’s home page features a national debt ticker, and a countdown clock to President Barack Obama’s last day in office.

I’m sure the people wanted Sarah Palin to launch a channel! No, they didn’t.

This talk of “being sick of media filters” and “crony capitalism” reeks of hypocrisy: the reality is, Palin is using this new venture to advance her own idiotic agenda by way of her own filter. Why else would she include a countdown clock to Obama’s last day in office? The whole thing is full of partisan bullshit.

On Tattoos and the Immune System

Olga Khazan, writing for The Atlantic:

It turns out your ethereal watercolored bird is kind of like an infection—and the reason it’s permanent is because your body keeps on fighting it forever.

Tattoo needles punch through the epidermis, the outer layer of skin, and drive the ink into the dermis, the deeper layer that’s mottled with nerves and blood vessels.

“Every time the needle penetrates, it causes a wound that alerts the body to begin the inflammatory process,” the video explains. That signal sends immune system cells racing to the site of the wound (or multiple wounds, in the case of the five-inch dragon breathing fire across your chest).

Special cells called macrophages come to the rescue, eating up the dye in an attempt to “clean up” the inflammation it’s causing. The rest of the dye gets soaked up by skin cells called fibroblasts. The fibroblasts, along with many of the macrophages, stay suspended in the dermis in perpetuity.

The dye in the bellies of the trapped macrophages and fibroblasts shows through the skin, projecting your Chinese word for “love” or constellation of tiny blue stars to the outside world.

I have a couple tattoos, so this was interesting to learn. Be sure to watch the video.

On Timelessness and Time

Mike Plugh, “Baseball: Past American Time”:

It’s also important to remember that baseball is a rural game, a game of grass and dirt, of wood and chalk and pine tar. Baseball is a game of wide open spaces. We call the playing space a park, in contrast to courts, rinks, and gridirons. The sport itself also is the essence of timelessness, which fits with its rustic mores. The clock is an urbanizing technology, one of synchronization and uniformity, time being measured precisely to produce regularity in our routines.

Baseball is unburdened by that form of precision, or at least it used to be. Nowadays, we flit and dart from second to second through digital environments on our smartphones and wearable technology. Nothing escapes the speed of electricity, and therefore we learn to accept constant change, but baseball is anything but constant change. The game has been compared to chess. Each pitch is crucial and the game frequently hangs in the balance of one red-hot moment that punctuates long minutes of study, plotting and measurement. It’s the intervals between the short spurts of action where the interesting stuff usually takes place.

I know many who lament that baseball is “boring” and “slow”, but I think these sentiments show a fundamental misunderstanding of what baseball is. It’s not a game of non-stop, hard-hitting, wall-to-wall action like, say, hockey is. Baseball is unique unto itself, and its uniqueness is what made the sport “the national pastime” for decades.

Here’s the box score of the Pirates-Phillies game from 1921 that Plugh mentions.

‘The New Typewriter’

MG Siegler, on writing using an iPad:

I’ve been thinking about this recently when wondering why I like to write on my iPad so much more than my computer. It’s not that the iPad is “better” for writing, it’s that it’s decidedly less distracting. Yes, you still have access to Twitter, Facebook, and the like. But it’s not open in a window just next to the window you’re composing in. It’s a different app. Sure, there are push notifications, but you can easily switch those off. Or let them pile up.

[...]

It’s the best of both worlds in many ways. It has the benefits of correction, with the benefits of focus. And it’s decidedly portable. It may be the perfect writing machine.

Well said.

‘Executions Should Be By Firing Squad, Federal Appeals Court Judge Says’

Maura Dolan, reporting for the Los Angeles Times:

“Using drugs meant for individuals with medical needs to carry out executions is a misguided effort to mask the brutality of executions by making them look serene and beautiful — like something any one of us might experience in our final moments,” U.S. 9th Circuit Court Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote in a dissent in the Arizona death penalty case of Joseph Rudolph Wood III.

“But executions are, in fact, brutal, savage events, and nothing the state tries to do can mask that reality. Nor should we. If we as a society want to carry out executions, we should be willing to face the fact that the state is committing a horrendous brutality on our behalf.”

Agreed.

As Judge Kozinski writes, “[the reality is] we are shedding human blood”.

(via Daring Fireball)

‘LeBron’s Mighty Mind’

Brian Windhorst, writing for ESPN.com:

He is 6-foot-8 or so, and 260 pounds or so. He has striking athleticism even while in a crowd of some of the greatest athletes on the planet. He has a strong work ethic that manifests itself in expansive summer programs that are at the heart of the steady development of his game over the years. He is ambidextrous, playing right-handed but doing most other things in his life left-handed, a trait that has helped him become one of the great scorers in league history. He has an expansive interest in the history of the game, which he uses both as a teaching resource and to generate motivation in a time where he has very few true contemporaries.

There is all of that. But there is also one other quality, one that James himself has somehow managed to keep hidden for the past decade, despite our seemingly insatiable desire to uncover — and wring dry — most everything about the man: the memory. It is perhaps one of James’ greatest gifts. And while those who watch James are typically impressed with how he uses his speed and skill to generate highlight plays, those who know James or spend a lot of time with him are more frequently blown away by the almost curious power of his mind.

The memory. It can inform him. It can engage him. It can turn on him. It can attack him. It can, he says, hinder him in ways that are far harder to treat than a sprained ankle. And learning to control it has been a fight as great as any other in his career.

On Levi’s Stadium

Ryan Lawler, writing for TechCrunch:

Levi’s Stadium, which had its ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday, is a beautiful arena. It comfortably seats 68,500 fans and can add additional seating to hold 75,000 for events like the Super Bowl. There are two giant screens on either side of the field, with a viewing area of 19,200 square feet between them.

But that’s the kind of thing that we’ve come to expect from new modern arenas. What’s really cool about Levi’s Stadium is the technology that has been built into it.

Fans will be treated to arena-wide WiFi, with more than 1,000 access points scattered throughout the stadium. It will have 40 Gbps of connectivity coming in, which is about 40 times the capacity of even the most connected stadiums out there.

The stadium will have an app that will allow fans to instantly watch replays from their mobile devices in the stadium, choosing from a variety of different camera angles. That app will also feature paperless ticketing and the ability to order food and drinks directly from your seat.

I never saw a game at Candlestick — neither for the 49ers nor the Giants — but I’d really like to see a game at Levi’s. (Never mind that the new stadium is in Santa Clara, while the team is still called San Francisco. Santa Clara is about 45 miles south of SF.)

Be sure to watch the video that accompanies the story.

OS X Yosemite Public Beta Launches Tomorrow

Jason Snell, reporting for Macworld:

On Thursday, fall will come early for hundreds of thousands of Mac users when Apple releases its first public beta of OS X Yosemite. The public-beta program, announced during Apple’s annual developer conference in June, lets regular users download and test pre-release versions of OS X. Apple says the first million users to sign up at the OS X Beta Program website will be able to test Yosemite before the OS is released to the general public in the fall.

Users who signed up will receive a redemption code to enter in the Mac App Store, at which point a Yosemite installer app will download to their Macs. Once Yosemite is installed, future updates to the beta software will come automatically via the system’s standard Software Update functionality. For much more detail about the public beta and how to install it, view our OS X Yosemite public beta FAQ.

The first public build of Yosemite is the same one received by registered Mac developers earlier this week. Developers who are testing Yosemite are on a different track than regular users, however, and both groups may receive different updates at different times as testing continues.

[...]

When Yosemite is finished, users will be upgraded to the final version automatically, also via the Software Update feature within the App Store app.

Before Mountain Lion was released in 2012, I tested it (on my main machine) via Apple’s AppleSeed program. I continue in AppleSeed to this day, receiving early releases of Mavericks updates. That said, much as I’m tempted to test Yosemite, I’ll probably hold out. My MacBook is decidedly not Retina, and I’m not so sure I want to use an OS so clearly (re-)designed for Retina displays.