On ‘The Simpsons’ Marathon

Bill Carter, writing for the New York Times:

The 12-day, round-the-clock marathon, which also included the two-hour 2007 theatrical movie, produced ratings about three times as high as executives at the channel expected. It enabled FXX to finish as the highest-rated network in all of cable television among the audience most desired by advertisers — viewers between the ages of 18 and 49 — three nights out of 12. For its full run, the audience for the marathon had a median age of 28, one of the youngest in the television business.

[...]

The results of the marathon were not only huge, they were consistent. On its final night, the latest episodes reached well over one million viewers. Over the course of the 12 days, the episodes in prime time averaged 1.32 million total viewers, up over 500 percent from the channel’s previous average of 206,000. Among the 18-to-49-year-old range, it averaged 841,000 viewers, up more than 650 percent from the previous average of 111,000.

I loved the marathon — I don’t think I once changed the channel while it was on. I would turn on the TV and let it run while I worked.

‘This is Cowardice Writ Large’

Dave Zirin for The Nation, “Michael Sam: Out of the Closet, Out of the NFL?”:

The very language that Michael Sam is a “distraction” – which Freeman is one of the few to have the courage to call out – is a way to project and justify one’s own bigotry. Michael Sam is not a distraction. A “distraction” is when a team invites HBO Hard Knocks into their locker room. A “distraction” is when an owner proudly and loudly defends a racial slur on national television. A “distraction” is when a player commits a crime like spousal abuse and is then aggressively defended by his organization like all he did was chew gum in class. To equate being open about one’s sexuality and then just playing football (no Oprah reality shows, no special interviews) with being this kind of “distraction” is to traffic in rank prejudice. Once again, to say otherwise, is to practice public relations.

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.

That sound you hear is bank accounts and credit cards the world over squealing with glee.

(via Stephen Hackett)

‘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.

By 2013, Dimson was at Instagram. That put him back in touch with Alex Karpenko, a friend from Stanford who had sold his start-up to Instagram in 2013. Karpenko and his firm, Luma, had created the first-ever image-stabilization technology for smartphone videos. That was obviously useful to Instagram, and the company quickly deployed it to improve video capture within the app. But Dimson realized that it had far greater creative potential. Karpenko’s technology could be used to shoot videos akin to all those shots in Baraka. “It would have hurt me not to work on this,” says Dimson.

I used Hyperlapse for the first time last night, and I was very impressed. The app is very well done and easy to use — fun, too. For someone who isn’t big on shooting video, that I actually enjoyed Hyperlapse is high praise.

(via John Gruber)

‘Loving Kids Like That Is a Waste’

Sarah Terzo for LifeNews.com, on pregnant couples aborting babies with Down syndrome:

Rayna Rapp, a former abortion clinic worker who aborted a baby with Down syndrome herself, conducted a survey of women and couples who sought amniocentesis to screen for Down syndrome and other problems with their babies. All of the interviewees intended to abort if the baby was found to have Down syndrome. Some of the things that these parents say about Down syndrome children are deeply troubling to anyone who values life.

As someone who worked with many children with Down syndrome during my career with the school district, the sentiment that loving a child with Down is “a waste” is deeply offensive to me. Loving your child should come without condition, but judging by the rationale Terzo shares in her piece, many would-be parents disagree, sadly.

(via @sidoneill)

‘iOS First. Android Much, Much Later.’

Semil Shah, on mobile startups and devoting development time:

The most common trap here is the early iOS app which gets some buzz. All of a sudden, the founders hear “When are you building for Android?” The natural, enthusiastic response to sincere requests of the Android chorus is to go ahead and build for Android and seek more downloads, more growth, more revenue. I have a different view though. The proper response is: “No. Buy an iPhone.”

It’s long been my view that while Android may be winning in market share, iOS is kicking ass in terms of app design. Apps on iOS just seem to be better designed than their Android counterparts, both in aesthetic design and in experience. The depth is the killer here, I think: Apple’s APIs are better and creating for iOS is easier. Android fans crow about choice, but the device fragmentation is a real problem for third-party developers. A platform is only as good as its apps, after all.

(via Daring Fireball)

‘Why We’re Not Driving the Friendly Skies’

Stuart F. Brown, writing for the New York Times:

Trying to reconcile the conflicting requirements of the two types of vehicles invariably results in a boatload of compromises that, some say, make the flying car a nonstarter. Yet the dream lives on.

[...]

Enthusiasts have a think or two coming if they assume that one need only buy a flying car and point the nose skyward to soar above the dreary highways. Nobody gets off the ground without training and a pilot’s license, and no government agency will sign off on citizens’ routinely taking off and landing on public roads. That’s what airports are for.

Next year is 2015, the year Michael J. Fox traveled to in Back to the Future Part II. Seems that not much from that vision of the now not-too-distant future is a reality — the exceptions being video calls and a MLB team in Miami. Flying cars certainly aren’t around, but then neither is a Cubs World Series berth/win.