Lasts Longer →

Horace Dediu · Asymco · ·

I agree with Horace, this was a huge strategic announcement by Lisa Jackson at Apple’s recent keynote:

[Lisa Jackson] laid out a goal for Apple to eliminate the need to mine new materials from the Earth.

She said that to reach that goal Apple will have to do three things:

  1. Sourcing recycled or renewable materials for all products.
  2. Ensure that Apple products last as long as possible.
  3. After a long life of use, ensure that they are recycled properly.

It’s this second point that I thought would bring the house down.

To emphasize the second point she said Apple now strives to design and build durable products that last as long as possible. That means long-lasting hardware coupled with long-lasting software. She pointed out that iOS 12 runs even on iPhone 5S, now five years old. Because iPhones last longer, you can keep using them or pass them on to someone who will continue to use them after you upgrade.

She said that “keeping iPhones in use” is the best thing for the planet.

At this point in the presentation I wondered if everyone would rush out of the room and call their broker to sell Apple shares.

A wonderful look inside Apple and the history of Infinite Loop from Steven Levy, a long time chronicler of Apple.

For more than a year I’ve been interviewing Apple employees, past and present, about their recollections of Infinite Loop. In their own words, edited for clarity and concision, here is the story of a plot of land in Cupertino, California, that brought us the Mac revival, the iPod, iTunes, the iPhone, and the Steve Jobs legacy.

Enemy Bylines →

David Pell · NextDraft · ·

Today, in a coordinated effort led by the Boston Globe, news organizations across the United States printed, posted, shared their perspective on this idea:

A central pillar of President Trump’s politics is a sustained assault on the free press. Journalists are not classified as fellow Americans, but rather “the enemy of the people.” This relentless assault on the free press has dangerous consequences. We asked editorial boards from around the country – liberal and conservative, large and small – to join us today to address this fundamental threat in their own words.

From David Pell’s perspective:

For Nixon supporters, one of the key lessons of his era was that a corrupt president could be weakened and even destroyed by the combined investigative efforts of law enforcement and a free press. Trump has spent a good portion of his presidency attacking both — so that by the time he utters his version of “I am not a crook,” the institutions tasked with countering that statement will have been greatly weakened in the eyes of voters. While Brennan and the hundreds of media outlets are correct to make their stand, it’s worth noting that these battle lines have been drawn within a framework of Trump’s creation. Trump vs the media and Trump vs the so-called deep state are the battles he wants, and like those fought in the 60s and 70s, the outcome of this battle will define America for years to come.

Hat tip to Nick Heer.

I know the headline of this link sounds esoteric and boring, but this is actually a fascinating story from David Zweig in Wired:

Random Farms, and tens of thousands of other theater companies, schools, churches, broadcasters, and myriad other interests across the country, need to buy new wireless microphones. The majority of professional wireless audio gear in America is about to become obsolete, and illegal to operate. The story of how we got to this strange point involves politics, business, science, and, of course, money.

[…]

The upheaval around wireless mics can be traced to the National Broadband Plan of 2010, where, on the direction of Congress, the FCC declared broadband “a foundation for economic growth, job creation, global competitiveness and a better way of life.” Two years later, in a bill best known for cutting payroll taxes, Congress authorized the FCC to auction off additional spectrum for broadband communications. In 2014, the FCC determined it would use the 600 MHz band — where most wireless microphones operate — to accomplish that goal.

According to Zweig, this is the second time in ten years that part of the RF spectrum used for wireless audio equipment has been reallocated; so, for many users, this is the second time in recent memory they’re having to spend thousands of dollars on new gear. And there appears to be no indication that the FCC will cordon off a specific spectrum for these kinds of devices to operate on, which is foolish.

Hey! I’m looking for some feedback and thoughts on a brewery and beer database I cooked up. I’ve got 6,601 brewers and 70,729 beers in the database at the moment. The idea is to provide the community with brewer information including a little about the brewery, their location(s), links, and information on the beer they brew (all the pertinent info: name, style, description, ABV, IBU).

Any content added to the database is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0) and is accessible via a website and API. Unlike other beer and brewer databases online, you don’t need to get approved for API access, and you don’t have to pay to remove rate limitations. The database is open and accessible to anyone.

I would love to see beer entrepreneurs leverage the database into new and exciting apps, provide beer enthusiasts with a catalog of information about the breweries they’re interested in, and researchers the opportunity to mine the vast world that is craft beer.

What do you think? You can check it out at:

https://catalog.beer

Known issues and limitations:

  • You can’t currently edit beer or brewer information
  • There’s an authenticity component where brewers can verify their information that needs additional development. See Triton Brewing as an example of a verified brewer.

All feedback is welcome: email / Twitter @mekirkpatrick

Great primer from Benedict Evans on how to think about Machine Learning.

In basic terms, a team of scientists from Harvard University and the company Carbon Engineering have developed and prototyped a process to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. That’s pretty cool. However it doesn’t necessarily address climate change because it’s not a carbon capture technology (the fuel that is made from the carbon capture process is designed to be burned/used).

The lead author of the study that presented these findings, David Keith notes “it [is] important to still stop emitting carbon-dioxide pollution where feasible. ‘My view is we should stick to trying to cut emissions first. As a voter, my view is it’s cheaper not to emit a ton of [carbon dioxide] than it is to emit it and recapture it.’”

That or we need to develop a market mechanism that encourages companies like Carbon Engineering to capture atmospheric carbon dioxide and prevent it from returning to the atmosphere (e.g. store it).

Lobe - Deep Learning Made Simple →

Lobe · Lobe · ·

It’s amazing to me how accessible machine learning is becoming to everyday people. Lobe is another step in that direction.

Via Daring Fireball

This section of Ben’s piece is worth quoting in its entirety. The key sentence is the last.

Jeff Bezos has been writing an annual letter to shareholders since 1997, and he attaches that original letter to one he pens every year. It included this section entitled Obsess Over Customers:

From the beginning, our focus has been on offering our customers compelling value. We realized that the Web was, and still is, the World Wide Wait. Therefore, we set out to offer customers something they simply could not get any other way, and began serving them with books. We brought them much more selection than was possible in a physical store (our store would now occupy 6 football fields), and presented it in a useful, easy-to-search, and easy-to-browse format in a store open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. We maintained a dogged focus on improving the shopping experience, and in 1997 substantially enhanced our store. We now offer customers gift certificates, 1-Click shopping, and vastly more reviews, content, browsing options, and recommendation features. We dramatically lowered prices, further increasing customer value. Word of mouth remains the most powerful customer acquisition tool we have, and we are grateful for the trust our customers have placed in us. Repeat purchases and word of mouth have combined to make Amazon.com the market leader in online bookselling.

Over the last 20 years Amazon has dramatically changed, but Bezos’ annual focus on consumers has not. This year, after highlighting just how much customers love Amazon (answer: a lot), Bezos wrote:

One thing I love about customers is that they are divinely discontent. Their expectations are never static — they go up. It’s human nature. We didn’t ascend from our hunter-gatherer days by being satisfied. People have a voracious appetite for a better way, and yesterday’s ‘wow’ quickly becomes today’s ‘ordinary’. I see that cycle of improvement happening at a faster rate than ever before. It may be because customers have such easy access to more information than ever before — in only a few seconds and with a couple taps on their phones, customers can read reviews, compare prices from multiple retailers, see whether something’s in stock, find out how fast it will ship or be available for pick-up, and more. These examples are from retail, but I sense that the same customer empowerment phenomenon is happening broadly across everything we do at Amazon and most other industries as well. You cannot rest on your laurels in this world. Customers won’t have it.

Critically, when it comes to Internet-based services, this customer focus does not come at the expense of a focus on infrastructure or distribution or suppliers: while those were the means to customers in the analog world, in the online world controlling the customer relationship gives a company power over its suppliers, the capital to build out infrastructure, and control over distribution. Bezos is not so much choosing to prioritize customers insomuch as he has unlocked the key to controlling value chains in an era of aggregation.

Bezos’s letter, though, reveals another advantage of focusing on customers: it makes it impossible to overshoot.

Productivity →

Sam Altman · ·

I think often about how I can best use my time — and get frustrated when I feel like I’m doing things that aren’t helping me get where I want to go. Sam Altman wrote up some of his thoughts on productivity (linked here). I don’t think there’s a single quote that’s worth pulling; the whole thing is worth a read. I don’t subscribe to some of his ideas but this post like most of.

See also: The Builder’s High

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