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.

Bacon Lorem Ipsum

Posted by: James Lileks under Gripes, Technology Updated: October 29, 2013 - 12:43 PM

The constant celebration of bacon has more to do with its reputation for being horrible for you than the actual truth of bacon. Sure, it’s great. But everyone goes nuts when Bacon is added to something, like it imparts something incredible. Bacon flavored martinis! Hey. No.

But this is amusing. Wonder if they’ll find this code when debugging healthcare.gov:

[baconmockup w=300 h=200]
[baconmockup w=300 h=200 tag=random alt='This is random meat' cssclass=‘myclass-baconmockup’]

It’s from the Bacon Ipsum, which generates Lorem Ipsum - placeholder text for mockups - based on meat products.

Bacon ipsum dolor sit amet anim meatball biltong et tongue bacon. Pork chop elit meatball labore proident ullamco. Adipisicing tongue officia pancetta ut esse nulla id laboris dolor in frankfurter ad t-bone. Ullamco pork belly tail, esse shoulder bresaola culpa salami.

Culpa tail consectetur pork venison beef. Tail leberkas nostrud, jerky pancetta enim laboris prosciutto turkey pariatur cillum frankfurter sed pastrami. Fatback bacon bresaola chuck quis nostrud et consectetur hamburger commodo reprehenderit qui pariatur pig ribeye. Minim jowl consequat in strip steak.

Eu consectetur occaecat, ribeye prosciutto magna kielbasa venison drumstick ham. Kielbasa beef elit t-bone adipisicing nisi chicken ut minim. Cillum anim dolore, elit excepteur eu velit cow. Shank shoulder andouille pastrami short ribs occaecat deserunt ball tip frankfurter.

Just reading that makes you need a stent.

DOOM Never fails. All Apple news is the same: doom. Doom! AP, in today’s paper:

Apple's quarterly earnings are still sagging even as sales of its iPhones are rising, a vexing phenomenon feeding investor worries about whether stiffer competition in the mobile device market will continue to undercut the company's prosperity.

The fiscal fourth-quarter results announced Monday closed the books on a sobering year that saw Apple's market value plunge by about 25 percent, or about $160 billion. Apple Inc. remains the world's most valuable company, despite the downturn.

Now, the analysis:

The company's earnings have been shrinking along with its share of the smartphone and tablet computer market that Apple reshaped with the 2007 release of the first iPhone and the 2010 introduction of the iPad. Apple hasn't come up with another breakthrough product in a new category since then . . .

You know what’s coming next, don’t you? Sure you do. Tech writers have the sentence welded into a macro key.

. . . raising questions about the company’s ability to innovate following the death of co-founder and chief visionary Steve Jobs two years ago.

To make the same point for the 147th time: innovation for the sake of innovation is not what the company does. They come up with something that redefines a category, and refine it for several years. Pick up the first iPad and the latest retina iPad Mini, and tell me there’s no innovation involved. It’s the difference between a brick and a sheet of paper.

But let’s gaze back at the mists of history, and see if any lessons might be learned there. The article says it hasn’t reshaped a market since the iPhone in 2007, and the iPad in 2010. Ergo they are out of gas and running on fumes. (The sort of rich, aromatic fumes you get when you’re powering your vehicle with gasified foie gras, which they can certainly afford.) This timeline leaves out the iPod, which redefined that category as well, and came out in 2001. So they putzed around for six years, NOT INNOVATING AT ALL, until shazam the iPhone fell out of the sky, right? In the meantime the iPod went from a big chunky thing with physical buttons and a greyscale screen that ran the Chicago font to something with much higher capacity, smaller size, and the ability to play movies. But that wasn’t innovating.

Here are some bullet points from CultofMac:

Revenue came in at $37.5 billion – up from $35.3 billion last quarter while also beating expectations of $36.82 billion.

EPS beat expectations of $7.92 with a total of $8.26 per diluted share.

33.8 million iPhones were sold in Q4 2013 (new record)

Gross margin was at 37% as expected

Revenue in Japan jumped 40% since last year, while China increased 6%

SELL! SELL! SELL!

TECH Are we in a tech bubble, or are things just frothy? That’s the term people use to avoid words like, oh, “Bubble.” Here’s a piece from last year about Airtime, when the tech hub - er, boom - was revving up nicely.

Once upon a time, a humble click of a button could send a web service live. A couple of e-mails out or a post on a message board might be sufficient to draw the interest of a few early adopters.

No longer. Somehow, somewhere along the line, certain startup launches and demo days have become more like celebrity-studded movie premieres or gallery openings. We all go and gawk. We might stay. We might leave. But we’re all there for a show.

And nowhere is the shift of technology industry from mainstream culture’s periphery to its center more evident than in the story of Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning — who are debuting their much-anticipated (and more family-friendly!) version of ChatRoulette today.

How’s it doing? This Kernel editor signed on and waited for someone to show up and chat. No one ever did. It’s probably bombing because it didn’t nab the teen / early 20s social market, who are staring at phones instead of computer screens. From my observation of the demographic - i.e., watching my kid - I don’t see a lot of desire for video conferencing, because you have to concentrate while doing it. You can text and snapchat and the rest while you’re doing something else. Videochat with someone who’s doing something else, and you feel slighted. It’s a medium that requires eye contact.

Kernel also has a piece on a site that’s one of the new up-and-coming BuzzFeed killers, Planet Ivy. It’s engagedand right out there at the frothy bleeding envelope edge or whatever terms they use these days. As their mission statement puts it:

On Planet Ivy we want you to be entertained as you read about what’s going on in the world right now. We find the most outrageous and thought-provoking stories on the web, and have a team of all-young, adventurous journalists delivering opinion pieces on issues that young people want to read about.

If the idea of all-young journalists piques your interest, this is the site for you. Here’s an example. Discussing Russell Brand’s incoherent philippic, this writer concludes:

Brute force and violent uprising are not concepts to be bandied about on Newsnight and as much as Brand loathes the system, he still fears its wrath. In a culture where a joke about bombing an airport can land you in police custody, inciting revolution, real revolution, will bring you much worse. No one wants a violent overthrow, there is nothing glorious or poetic about civil war, it ranks amongst the ugliest of things. Brand isn’t stood atop the barricades willing us to take up arms and that’s OK. I certainly wouldn’t, won’t and am not, but things won’t change until someone does.

You have to admit, it’s a fair critique; Brand isn’t stood. You could say he won’t and am not. Also, he’s right to say that everything has to change, and violence isn’t good, but that’s the only way to get what has to be done, so maybe someone will do it and it’ll be cool because it won’t be totally ugly and maybe a bit poetic.

Earlier, the author scolds Brand for being vague about how he wants to transform society to fit his ideals.

In the Newsnight interview Brand (proposes) a “socialist egalitarian system based on massive redistribution of wealth” and “heavy taxation of corporations”, after much duress from Paxo. [note: unexplained reference to a large British poultry-stuffing maker. Beats me.] Sounds great! How do we get there? Who implements this system? How did they get there? These are issues Brand is keen to avoid and to be fair, he is just trying to raise awareness of a set of ideas and not position himself as the figurehead of a movement.

Other than the terribly important movement that reveres Russell Brand. In the interview, he said:

I think the very concept of profit should be hugely reduced. David Cameron says profit isn’t a dirty word. I say profit is a filthy word. Because where there is profit there is also deficit and the system currently doesn’t address these ideas.

Russell Brand is worth $15 million. His 2010 movie “Get Him to the Greek” made $90 million on a production cost of $40 million. Ergo, profit. Did this cause deficit elsewhere? If the movie had only made $10 million, does that mean he thinks another movie would have broke even instead of going $30 million in the hole? He goes on to refine his philosophy thus:

Only systems that serve the population and the planet, can be allowed to survive.

Yes, we’re always well-served by folks who think like this. He’s a useful idiot, so he wouldn’t be in the first queue for the tumbrel. Oh, here’s his house:

Perhaps he’s sold it since that picture was taken. For the exact same price he paid, of course.

MEANWHILE IN SYRIA

Let’s take another look at that play in slo-mo:

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