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October 28, 2011

Windows 7 phone binged better

Mango still offers everything that Windows Phone already had going for it: a terrific onscreen keyboard with smart auto-suggestions. Integration with your Xbox account. Microsoft's Zune music service ($15 a month for all the music you want to hear). A GPS app that now speaks your directions, turn by turn.

Now, if this phone had arrived before the iPhone, people would have been sacrificing small animals to it.

But Microsoft's three-year lag behind its rivals is going to be very tough to overcome.

Windows Phone is considered a weird outlier. Unlike with the iPhone, there's no teeming universe of alarm clocks, chargers, accessories and cars that fit these phones.

Similarly, Windows Phone's app store has 30,000 apps, which is an achievement -- but Android offers 10 times as many, and the iPhone store has 16 times as many.

Microsoft says that it's quality, not quantity, and that all the important apps are there. Unfortunately, a long list of essentials are still unavailable: Pandora radio, Dragon dictation, Line2, Flight Track Pro, Ocarina, Instagram, Hipstamatic. You should note, too, that Microsoft's schoolyard grudge against Google manifests itself in several disappointing ways: you can't export your videos to YouTube, and you can't search with Google.

In other words, Microsoft may face quite a Catch-22, no matter how superb its work: Windows Phone isn't popular because it isn't popular.

A Welcome Windows Phone
Published: October 26, 2011
Microsoft's software answer to Android and the iPhone first appeared, incomplete, about a year ago. The blanks have been filled in: speech recognition, Twitter integration and app updates.

October 27, 2011

Sports math

Last year, the Pocono Raceway installed 40,000 solar panels on 25 acres, enough to power the entire facility. Brandon Igdalsky, the racetrack's president, said the $15 million cost was paid without government subsidies. The track's annual energy bill has been cut by $500,000, so Mr. Igdalsky expects to recover the cost of the panels in eight to 10 years.

Spend $15,000,000. Save $500,000 per year. Payback in under 10 years. !

Sports Rally Around Green Projects
Published: October 25, 2011
Teams and leagues find that going green can cut costs and attract money-making corporate partnerships for green projects.

October 10, 2011

Akka, Redis, Riak, Git, Chef, and Scala are tools of today

Skills and Tools

We're pragmatists. We have no religion about development process, programming languages, version control, text editors, SQL vs NoSQL, etc. We use the right tool for the job, and we try to stay adaptable and open-minded. We care deeply about building a mutually supportive atmosphere, and you should, too.

We don't expect everyone we hire to be an expert in everything we do on their first day. We do expect that you want to learn, grow, and be challenged by the people you work with. You should be able to learn new things on your own, quickly.

We believe strongly in metrics, testing, continuous integration, and working fluidly and harmoniously with our experienced operations staff. Everything we write is designed for simplicity and maintainability. We take security very, very seriously.

Our backend developers mostly work in Scala. Our frontend developers mostly work in Ruby and JavaScript. We use Git, Chef, a variety of Amazon Web Services, Postgres, and more. We're experimenting with Akka, Redis, Riak, and other neat stuff, but always with a critical eye and thorough benchmarking.

We are active open source contributors, and we hope that you are too (or, at least, that you want to be).

( Data Scientist at Simple Finance )

October 9, 2011

2011 is like 1984 ? The iOS case by Mike Daisey, "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs

The Steve Jobs who founded Apple as an anarchic company promoting the message of freedom, whose first projects with Stephen Wozniak were pirate boxes and computers with open schematics, would be taken aback by the future that Apple is forging. Today there is no tech company that looks more like the Big Brother from Apple's iconic 1984 commercial than Apple itself, a testament to how quickly power can corrupt.

Apple's rise to power in our time directly paralleled the transformation of global manufacturing. As recently as 10 years ago Apple's computers were assembled in the United States, but today they are built in southern China under appalling labor conditions. Apple, like the vast majority of the electronics industry, skirts labor laws by subcontracting all its manufacturing to companies like Foxconn, a firm made infamous for suicides at its plants, a worker dying after working a 34-hour shift, widespread beatings, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to meet high quotas set by tech companies like Apple.

I have traveled to southern China and interviewed workers employed in the production of electronics. I spoke with a man whose right hand was permanently curled into a claw from being smashed in a metal press at Foxconn, where he worked assembling Apple laptops and iPads. I showed him my iPad, and he gasped because he'd never seen one turned on. He stroked the screen and marveled at the icons sliding back and forth, the Apple attention to detail in every pixel. He told my translator, "It's a kind of magic."

Mr. Jobs's magic has its costs. We can admire the design perfection and business acumen while acknowledging the truth: with Apple's immense resources at his command he could have revolutionized the industry to make devices more humanely and more openly, and chose not to. If we view him unsparingly, without nostalgia, we would see a great man whose genius in design, showmanship and stewardship of the tech world will not be seen again in our lifetime. We would also see a man who in the end failed to "think different," in the deepest way, about the human needs of both his users and his workers.

It's a high bar, but Mr. Jobs always believed passionately in brutal honesty, and the truth is rarely kind. With his death, the serious work to do the things he has failed to do will fall to all of us: the rebels, the misfits, the crazy ones who think they can change the world.

Mike Daisey is an author and performer. His latest monologue, "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs," is scheduled to open at the Public Theater on Tuesday

Against Nostalgia
Published: October 6, 2011
Today there is no tech company that looks more like the Big Brother from Apple's iconic 1984 commercial than Apple itself.

October 3, 2011

Economics Nobel 2011

Economics: Economics Nobel 2011

Nobel Committee economics prize

Thomson Reuters

Harvard pool

Mostly economics predictions

Econ job rumors predictions.

Previously: 2010 Economics Nobel Prize