‘Letter of Recommendation’

Chris Breen delivers a eulogy of sorts for his laid-off Macworld comrades:

All the people I’ve mentioned are enthralled with technology—they wouldn’t do what they do otherwise. But I don’t think I’m going too far in saying that were you to ask them to describe their professional life in one word they’d reply “Writer.”

These people love language and using it to convey sometimes arcane ideas and procedures. Because they do, they are careful with the words they use and the way they’re arranged. These words and the ideas behind them are issued with intent—to help with understanding, to entertain, to instill insight.

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Jason Snell Leaving ‘Macworld’, Staff Laid Off

Jason Snell announced today that he’s leaving Macworld and comments on the lay-offs:

Last December, after several corporate leadership changes, and with budget cuts looming on the horizon, I decided I couldn’t go on. My newest set of bosses persuaded me to stay give them a chance. So I continued to work and ponder my next move.

Then another leadership shift occurred, the sixth in 24 months. The new bosses were actually my old bosses, and they knew exactly how I was feeling about my job and the prospect of going through more painful changes. To their great credit, they allowed us to end our relationship amicably. I thank them for their support and their generosity. They even asked me to write a final front-of-the-book column in the November issue of Macworld.

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Dr. Drang, On the ‘Standard Common Markdown Clusterfuck’

The Good Doctor writes:

Fundamentally, Markdown was tolerant and inclusive. At the risk of some ambiguity, it let you write pretty much the way you’d write a nicely formatted plain text email and turned it into HTML for you. It was both easy to write and easy to read in source form. The readability of Markdown was key. If a normal person could read your Markdown source and understand its structure, chances are Markdown.pl could, too.

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On Rdio 3.0

Ben Sisario for The New York Times, on Rdio’s new update, including a move to the “freemium” model:

“What we’ve learned collectively over the last few years,” said Anthony Bay, Rdio’s chief executive, “is that the most successful models are freemium models.”

[...]

Rdio’s new design, which fills a user’s screen with readymade playlists based on their tastes, draws heavily on the Internet radio format, which was popularized by Pandora and has become an increasingly important as digital outlets try to figure out how people prefer to listen to music online. The radio giant Clear Channel has made an aggressive push for its online radio platform, iHeartRadio. Recently Rhapsody introduced unRadio, a music service that is free for T-Mobile customers, and Google bought Songza, an online playlist service.

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‘Apple Said to Negotiate Deep Payments Discounts From Big Banks’

Ian Kar for Bank Innovation, on Apple’s oft-rumored NFC-based payment system:

The first thing Apple has done is convince these four FIs to consider transactions from Apple’s upcoming payments venture — said to launch with its forthcoming iPhone 6 introduction — as “card present” transactions, which carry a lower discount rate than “card not present” transactions, because of lower fraud risk.

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Apple Hires Tech Journalist Anand Lal Shimpi

John Paczkowski, reporting for Recode:

Anand Lal Shimpi, the editor and publisher of the well-regarded AnandTech site, is going to work at Apple.

An Apple rep confirmed that the company was hiring Shimpi, but wouldn’t provide any other details.

Last night, via a post on the site he founded in 1997, Shimpi said he was “officially retiring from the tech publishing world,” but didn’t say what he was doing next. “I won’t stay idle forever. There are a bunch of challenges out there :)”, he wrote.

Great hire by Apple and a great opportunity for Anand; I’ve long admired his work.

Recode: Apple Considering $400 Price Tag for Wearable

Dawn Chmielewski and John Paczkowski, reporting for Recode:

Apple executives have discussed charging around $400 for the company’s new wearable device.

Pricing has yet to be finalized for the forthcoming product, which is expected to begin shipping next year. Sources say consumers should expect a range of prices for different models including lower priced versions.

I’d pay $400 for an iWatch, depending on its functionality and fashion appeal.

Gizmodo Invited By Apple to September 9 Event

Brian Barrett, writing for Gizmodo:

Apple has just sent out its invitations to an event on September 9th. You can expect at least one iPhone, and possibly an iWatch as well. And hey… we’ll be there!

Off the shitlist, indeed.

(via Daring Fireball)

‘Look Daddy! Santa Gave Me An iWatch Raincheck’

John Paczkowski reports for Recode that Apple’s wearable device isn’t shipping soon:

So that new wearable device Apple is introducing on September 9? It’s going to be a while before anyone is actually wearing it. Sources in position to know tell me it won’t arrive at market for a few months. “It’s not shipping anytime soon,” said one. So when does Apple plan to ship its eagerly anticipated wearable? That’s not clear, but my understanding is that we’re unlikely to see it at retail until after the holiday season — think early 2015.

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‘The $15,000 Video Setup in Your Hand’

Cliff Kuang, in a profile for Wired on Instagram’s new app, Hyperlapse:

By day, Thomas Dimson quietly works on Instagram’s data, trying to understand how people connect and spread content using the service. Like a lot of people working at the company, he’s also a photo and movie geek—and one of his longest-held affections has been for Baraka, an art-house ode to humanity that features epic tracking shots of peoples all across the world. “It was my senior year, and my friend who was an architect said, ‘You have to see it, it will blow you away,’” says Dimson. He wasn’t entirely convinced. The movie, after all, was famous for lacking any narration or plot. But watching the film in his basement, Dimson was awestruck. “Ever since, it’s always been the back of my mind,” he says.

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