This blog covers everything except sports and gardening, unless we find a really good link about using dead professional bowlers for mulch. The author is a StarTribune columnist, has been passing off fiction and hyperbole as insight since 1997, has run his own website since the Jurassic era of AOL, and was online when today’s college sophomores were a year away from being born. So get off his lawn.

How to set a friend on fire

Posted by: James Lileks under Gripes, Newspapers, Photos, Technology Updated: December 3, 2012 - 12:16 PM

Fifty-plus and rain. I’ll take it. The drizzle has bollixed up the 35W-94 exchange; on the way to the office traffic was backed up to the Iowa border, but that’s becoming the norm these days. I’m sure they’ll announce an overhaul sooner or later, and everyone will complain bitterly about the delays for three years, after which we’ll whiz through the area without delay, completely forgetting the previous aggravation and taking the clean broad road for granted. Anyway, it would be nice if the rain came in snow form some time this month. Hard to get into the holiday mood when it’s a damp early November day.

 

TECH The Daily App, as you’ve probably heard, is shutting down after two years, having tailed to attract enough people to pay for it. This makes sense to anyone who spent much time with it. While it had some nifty features - that 360 of Tahir Square was an eye-opener, and showed what the medium could do - it was, for the most part, sparkly and silly and weightless. Says allthingsd:

The app was initially hampered by technical problems . . .

Yes. It crashed. Open the app: loads, freezes, crashes. Repeat. It’s not as though the iPad was some device with so many wild variations developers couldn’t know what they might experience. If you release something for the iPad and it crashes on the iPad, you’re telling your audience “we’re just throwing this out there because we’re already late and its mostly stable and getting yelled at by the boss for the crashing is something we can put off until next week.”

. . . but the Daily’s key issue was a conceptual one. While the app boasted lots of digital bells and whistles, in the end it was very much a general interest newspaper that seemed to be geared toward people who didn’t really like newspapers. You can’t make that work no matter what kind of platform it uses.

Exactly. It felt like USA Today - something you find outside a hotel room or read at McDonald’s while you have breakfast because someone left it behind.

It was also undone by apps that let you build your own daily paper - Flipbook, Zite (my favorite) and even AOL’s version, Editions.

Meanwhile, in other tech news, Time says:

Redbox and Verizon’s streaming video service reportedly won’t have as many movies and shows as Netflix, but it may be $2 per month cheaper.

The so-called “Redbox Instant by Verizon” will cost $6 per month according to GigaOM’s Janko Roettgers, who discovered the details by looking through publicly available support documents. (The web pages in question now require a password to see.)

Like Netflix, the service will provide unlimited video streaming, but will also have some other optional perks. Subscribers can pay an extra $2 per month for four nights of DVD rentals through Redbox kiosks. (Rentals usually cost $1.20 per night.) The service will also offer on-demand rentals of newer movies, starting at $0.99, with offline access to those videos available on some devices.

Here’s the ad, the usual modern mish-mash aimed at people who actually use the term “bro” to refer to other men:

 

Who am I supposed to high five? Myself? A person sitting next to me? Verizon? Shouldn't I high-six someone, given the price?

 

UPDATE You may recall this:

  

Chinese guy refuses to let them demolish his house to build a road to the new business district. Well.

 

AP photo

AP photo

Says the news:

“Xiayangzhang village chief Chen Xuecai told The Associated Press the house was bulldozed on Saturday after its owners, duck farmer Luo Baogen and his wife, agreed to accept compensation of 260,000 yuan ($41,000).

Mr. Chen says Mr. Luo voluntarily consented to the deal.

Oh, I’m sure he did.

 

WOW Almost five hours of plane landings in San Diego, collected in one concentrated video.

 

Landings at San Diego Int Airport Nov 23, 2012 from Cy Kuckenbaker on Vimeo.

That’s almost what it looked like at my house on 9/11, when they brought down all the commercial flights as quickly as possible. 

TECH Good news! They’re deciding the future of the internet behind closed doors. That’ll go well for all of us. Wired says:

There’s a lot of sky-is-falling doomsday predictions about the World Conference on International Telecommunications, which opens Monday in Dubai with some 190-plus nations discussing the global internet’s future.

That’s because much of the accompanying proposals from the global community have been kept under lock and key, although some of the positions of nations have been leaked and published online.

I don’t know why anyone’s worried. This is the UN we’re talking about, right? Relax. If they don't have everyone's best interests at heart, I don't know who does. 

Besides, here’s how attempts to regulate the internet generally end up:

   

 

GEEK Finally, a poster for an upcoming movie, with the name and tell-tale typeface removed. It should take you about 2 seconds to realize what it's for.

 

 

Can't wait.

 

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