Kindle v. iPad for ereader? Kindle, apparently.

Being an Apple fan I have to admit I’ve always scoffed at the Kindle; why would anyone pay a couple hundred dollars for this thing when they could buy an iPod Touch for the same price or an iPad for a bit more and get so much more functionality in the bargain. Now, after seeing a comparison of the Kindle and iPad displays under a microscope, as well as both compared to printed text under magnification, I understand — the text on the Kindle is much, much more like printed text.

Oh, and just in case you’re thinking that the iPhone 4 makes these comparisons moot b/c of its famed “retina display,” think again. It’s far better than its predecessors, but still all pixellated compared to the Kindle.

(Original link via Daring Fireball.)

iPhoneless , but…

It’s going on two months since I gave my iPhone a coffee and cream bath. I put it in rice for a few days and it seemed to work fine for a day, then… Gone. When it will turn on, it reboots itself randomly. When it’s not rebooting itself, app store apps don’t launch. The phone won’t ring and if I make a call the phone freezes when I hang up. Grrr.

I thought maybe if I took it apart I could see where the coffee was and try to clean it out. I bought an iPhone battery and repair kit with screwdriver and suction cup and “spudgers” and got to work. Using these helpful directions from iFixit, and these, I pulled everything apart and replaced the battery. While inside, I looked for evidence of coffee or cream residue but saw nothing obvious. I hoped maybe just the new battery would do the trick, but, well, no. It seems to reboot less, and it holds a charge better, and the battery monitor displays correctly when it’s charging or not (which wasn’t true before), but it still doesn’t work.

As a final effort, I tried a restore to factory settings and that wouldn’t work. First I got error 1603, then error 1013. The latter apparently indicates “a hardware issue with your device.” You think? Yeah, thanks.

So now the thing is truly a brick. The operating system got wiped and it won’t restore. At this point it doesn’t seem to even turn on anymore. *sigh*

Good thing my very own iPhone 4 just arrived in Chicago this morning, huh?

iPhone comming

Finally YouTube is Awesome

Want to see just maybe one great internet video every day? Check out Devour:

Devour sifts out the best videos and posts the well-curated collection every weekday. Fewer cute kittens, fewer skateboarding nutshots, fewer tween heart throbs, and lots more awesome.

It works. And if you’re looking for one awesome video for today, here’s one of my all-time favorites:

That video is too old to have appeared on Devour, but “Words” is maybe the best thing I’ve seen from the new service.

Grammar Nazis

A Man, A Plan And A Sharpie: ‘The Great Typo Hunt’:

Incensed by a “no tresspassing” sign, Jeff Deck launched a cross-country trip to right grammatical wrongs.

He enlisted a friend, Benjamin D. Herson, and together they got to work erasing errant quotation marks, rectifying misspellings and cutting unnecessary possessive apostrophes.

The Great Typo Hunt is the story of their crusade.

In 2 1/2 months, Herson and Deck traveled the perimeter of the country, exploring towns and cities in search of typos. They found 437 typos and were able to correct more than half of them.

Really, guys? And people are actually buying the book you wrote about this? Really?

No privacy for anyone (but esp. the poor).

Scott Greenfield comments on a recent 9th Circuit decision allowing officers to place “a GPS device on the underbed of a suspected drug dealer’s car while it was parked outside of his house” without a warrant. The court found that the defendant did nothing to show he had an expectation of privacy in his driveway, such as putting up gates, security monitoring, hiding the driveway from the street in some way, etc. Greenfield focuses on Chief Judge Alex Kozinski’s dissent, in which Kozinski notes that the court’s decision amounts to a rule that rich people who can afford such privacy and security measures will still be able to enjoy an expectation of privacy in their driveways, while poor people will not. Kozinski’s larger point is that the judiciary (at all levels) is made up almost exclusively of wealthy people who do not understand, or even really think about, the lives of the poor. That means judges have no idea how the majority of Americans live in a country where 69.8% of the wealth is owned by 10% of the population.

So Judge Kozinski is precisely right about the fact that the judiciary is reserved only for wealthy elites (not necessarily the super-rich, although they are well-represented, but people who never really have to worry about paying the bills). Sadly, the same can be said for our other branches of government. Sure, occasionally a poor or working class person might make it into the House, but the Senate? The executive? Forget about it. Call it aristocracy, plutocracy, or oligarchy, our system of government is anything but equal and democratic.

But the shrinking of the Fourth Amendment represented by decisions like this is just as troubling. The whole “expectation of privacy” test was developed in 1967 in Katz v. U.S., a time when constant, nearly-invisible, electronic monitoring of a person’s every movement (GPS) was not possible, nor even really conceivable. Here, the court has found a perfectly logical way to explain why this particular person doesn’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy in his driveway, but what about in every move he makes in his car? Is it unreasonable for an average person to think that his/her every movement is not being tracked and automatically broadcast to the government? Sure, my car might be traveling on the public roads where the government could watch or follow its every movement, but it’s one thing for the government to do that electronically and invisibly, and a completely different thing for the government to do that physically, so that if I was paying attention I might notice the surveillance. The court’s answer to the driveway question is horrible, but that question almost misses the larger point, which is the electronic and invisible tracking of my every movement by the government without a warrant. In what world is this ok? Ours, apparently — unless you have the money for a gated driveway. But then, the government can just tag your car with the lojack when you’re at the supermarket, right?

I like the cut of your Jib

A new colleague of mine occassionally says “I like the cut of your jib,” which is a great phrase and, well, makes me like the cut of his jib, as well. Most people are probably roughly familiar with the nautical origins of the phrase, but I’d never considered speculation that “there may be an allusion between the triangular shape of noses and jibs in the figurative use of this phrase,” or that it might refer to either someone’s appearance or the direction they seem to be heading, or both. It’s a great phrase, made better by this example usage from Urban Dictionary:

A – lets go for a beer and some readily available cannabis
B – alright, i like the cut of your jib

Oh yes, indeed. But where is this sort of world that includes readily available cannabis?

What collapsing empire looks like

Glenn Greenwald, referring to news that some cities and states around the nation are closing schools and libraries, turning off streetlights, allowing roads to go unpaved, and stopping bus service because of lack of funds:

Does anyone doubt that once a society ceases to be able to afford schools, public transit, paved roads, libraries and street lights — or once it chooses not to be able to afford those things in pursuit of imperial priorities and the maintenance of a vast Surveillance and National Security State — that a very serious problem has arisen, that things have gone seriously awry, that imperial collapse, by definition, is an imminent inevitability?

Oh well, at least we’re still making the world safe for capitalism w/our huge military! Oh, and we also have Steven Slater, “Hero to the underpaid, overworked flight attendants who regularly endure the wrath — and occasionally the fists and feet — of belligerent [airline] passengers. He even has his own ballad (via DF.) That’s the kind of sticking it to the man that’s going to really turn things around!

Target Doesn’t Support Gay Equality Because It Never Did

Abe Sauer:

The truth is not that Target and its leadership have suddenly turned on their commitment to gay rights. It’s more that it never really existed to begin with. Further research shows that Target has funneled significant funding to the most socially conservative of Republicans and that it boasts a frightening culture of anti-gay candidate support from Target’s own stable of top executives.

This is a bummer. Wal-Mart is evil and has been for decades, so Target was generally the best alternative for a sort of low-cost general retailer. Now it seems Target is evil, too — and that it has been for some time. Oh well. Who among us really needs more low-cost general junk, anyway?

“Mad Men” recap: Innocence lost

Heather Havrilesky on S4e2 of AMC’s “Mad Men”:

So how do you hold on to some spirit of innocence and naive happiness in your life? “Mad Men” demonstrates that unless you’re very rich, or very drunk, or in denial — or all of the above — it’s not that easy. 

If you thought the sound of Don hitting bottom was the slap of “the open palm of a hooker’s hand making contact with stubbly face in a darkened room on Thanksgiving as she joylessly rides” him, well, I guess not. Can Don get any more despicable? Sadly, I fear the answer is yes.

“The Last Gasp”: Can you take the pain out of executions?

Scott Christianson on the anti-death penalty dinner party argument:

You have to be aware that the government makes mistakes, that the criminal justice system makes mistakes and that it’s possible that an innocent person could be wrongfully accused and subjected to capital punishment. So, you’d have to ask the person at the party: Do you think that is acceptable?