This morning Apple did what to many appears tactless and unthinkable:

they announced they’re releasing a book.

I have to say I don’t think that a lot of the people writing commentary on this are the sort of viscerally self aware, creative people that (I think we can rightfully presume) run Apple’s design department. Or maybe they are, but they come from a time or place where an outward act of reflection like this is somewhat frowned upon.

And that’s what I think this is – an act of self reflection through the medium they actively use to express their ideas: a physical product. Sure, it could have been a website, it could have been a video, but – hell – as the video featuring Jony Ive showcasing the design department shows, they are all about expressing ideas through hardware. With Apple’s sort of rudderless product direction under Tim Cook over the last few years, throughly going through the things and ideas in the past that made them great, codifying it, and putting it in the past seems like an obvious move to me.

(I think the fact that it’s priced at $199 and $299 respectively reinforces this.)

So maybe the new Apple book is self involved and stupid, and maybe the criticism is a little warranted, but until I’ve (or anyone for that matter) has seen the book and been able to get a better grasp on what it is/is about  I’m not going to pass judgement. It seems probable that there’s a bigger picture here that a lot of the initial criticism is missing.

(As an aside: would it be ok to make a book like this if Apple were a small design company rather than one of the largest corporations in the world? Apple made a book before the return of Steve Jobs and no one cared, probably because no one cared about Apple…)

Anish Kapoor Coats “Cloud Gate” in the Darkest Black Known to Humanity

By: The Editors

On: Hyperallergic

Taking advantage of his exclusive rights to make artistic use of the high-tech, light-absorbing material Vantablack, the British artist Anish Kapoor has covered the entire surface of his Chicago public sculpture “Cloud Gate” (2006) with it. The result, a looming black orb that neutralizes 99.965% of the radiation that hits it, is a far cry from the mirrored selfie beacon that Chicagoans and tourists have come to love.

From April 1 of this year, but I saw this floating around on Twitter again today because of how eerily appropriate it feels after the election.

Why Be Here Now Is The Best Oasis Album – Angus Batey

He may cringe to read the Be Here Now lyrics, then, but this can only be because he is discomfited by their ambition and depth (by their, whisper it, artfulness) – or by the fact that he wrote about personal subjects, something he told Daniel Rachel he feels is generally indulgent, and usually prevents listeners from being able to relate to songs and their writers. For the most part, though, the lyrics are absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, despite the many barbs reflexively lobbed at them over the past 19 years. The record has been interpreted as the band ceasing to be relevant, the songs moving from wide-ranging inclusion to parochial navel-gazing; the everyman aspiration of the debut displaced by cynicism and cocaine-fuelled indulgence. Never mind that this critique could be just as aptly applied to the previous album (“Where were you when we were getting high?”; “All your dreams are made/when you’re chained to the mirror and the razor blade”) – the lyrics here are, for the most part, far richer and stronger than anything he’d done before. This appears to be at least partly because of, rather than despite, the difficulty surrounding their creation.

I’ve long thought that Be Here Now was a severely underrated album, even despite it’s poor mixing.

This is the most articulate defense of it I’ve ever seen (maybe the only defense I’ve ever seen).

In a way, Batey makes it seem more analogous in feeling to the obvious comparisons from the period: Blur’s Blur and Pulp’s This is Hardcore.


The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy. On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit—and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety.


Saw lots of screen-caps of this going around Twitter today. It’s eye opening but not that shocking.

“I did a lot of freaking out about Barack Obama.” But, he said, “Obama made me a better man.” He regrets calling the President a racist and counts himself a Black Lives Matter supporter. “There are things unique to the African-American experience that I cannot relate to,” he said. “I had to listen to them.”

Beck’s interactions with Donald Trump helped, too. He told a story of Trump summoning him to a guest room at Mar-a-Lago; Trump then telephoned him from an adjacent room. “We had this weird, almost Howard Hughes-like conversation,” Beck said. He left convinced that Trump was nuts. “This guy is dangerously unhinged,” he said. “And, for all the things people have said about me over the years, I should be able to spot Dangerously Unhinged.”

But really, where’s the commentary about this bit:

“I’m at a Dadaist time in my life,” he said. “So much of what I used to believe was either always a sham or has been made into a sham. There’s nothing deep.”

Has the irony not been lost?

New Tesla buyers will have to pay to use Superchargers – by Sean O’Kane

Any customer who orders a Tesla Model X or Model S after January 1st, 2017, will have to pay “a small fee” when filling up at a Supercharger station. Customers will also have to take delivery of those cars by April 1st, 2017 — so the fees will apply to people who preordered the Model 3. Tesla says the fee will be “less than the price of filling up a comparable gas car.”

Current Tesla owners with Supercharger-equipped cars will be able to use the stations for free for the life of those vehicles, and a Tesla spokesperson tells The Verge that the free charging will transfer to successive owners.

How soon till we see jailbroken cars? And how would that even work?

I’m just imagining something like how current Hackintoshes work, tricking the car into thinking it’s an older model. Whether this can be done with software or if there’s a specific embedded chip you’d have to steal out of a pre-2017 car (will salvage title Teslas be worth more because of this?), who knows?

In Chicago, the final wait for a Cubs win mixes joy and sorrow – Wright Thompson on

I didn’t know exactly what to do while waiting on the final game of the World Series, so I woke up early on Wednesday and went to church. The priest at the cavernous, ornate Holy Name Cathedral didn’t mention the Cubs during the homily, but his talk about suffering and faith resonated with those who came to celebrate All Souls’ Day. Yes, Game 7 was played on the same day as the annual Catholic holiday to remember and celebrate the dead, and pray for their safe passage from purgatory into heaven. You can’t make this stuff up.

For most of this year, I didn’t care about the Cubs because they seemed unfettered by the past – like, of course they were going to win, they were just that good. But when I stepped back from just looking at the team and started to pay attention to all the people around me and what this meant to them it really hit me what a big deal this all is, and Wright Thompson really hits that feeling (the importance of community) on the head with this bit on ESPN.

Regular Show: The Most Inventive Show of TV’s Nostalgia Boom – Eric Thurm

An excellent beginner’s overview to the charming world of Regular Show.

The medium of animation is a help here, transforming what would ordinarily be signs of sleaziness, or at least the wear of time (keytars, ninja shoes, VHS tapes, enormous desktop computers) into outlandish symbols of cool.

And who could forget quite possibly the greatest moment of nostalgia on TV this decade? THE LAST LASERDISC PLAYER.

How Apple could have avoided much of the controversy – by Chuq Von Rospach

An excellent retort to all the negative hype surrounding the new (Late 2016) MacBook Pro’s announced last week. Read it.

Additionally, this passage really struck me as one of the more astute comments about the forgotten Mac Pro in awhile:

Speaking of clusters, let’s talk Mac Pro for a minute. I’ve come to the belief that the trash can Mac pro, the “Can’t Innovate my Ass” machine, is a product mistake of the “20th Century Anniversary Macintosh” caliber. It was a technological marvel, it was a stunning design, and it was a terrible piece of hardware for it’s primary audiences because of limited upgradability and component flexibility — and then Apple compounded that by not having good upgrade plans in place to refresh it since the design it created wouldn’t let its users do it for themselves.

I’m convinced we’ll see not just an updated Mac Pro, but a new design, one that I hope backs away from some of the issues this design has. What I’m hoping for is in fact a new desktop product line which merges the Mini and the Mac Pro where, like the MacBooks, you have the options of 2-3 models each with 2-3 configuration upgrades which cover the pricing and processing needs from a basic Mac Mini to today’s Mac Pro supercomputer capabilities.

First, I love the comparison with the 20th anniversary Mac.

That said, I’d slightly disagree with this. The Mac Pro only had terrible upgrade paths because it was way, way ahead of its time. Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2, while fast when released, weren’t really fast enough for external PCI-E accessories. They also seemed intrinsically limited by using the mini displayport interface. However, now that Thunderbolt-3 exists as a unified standard with USB, it seems like all of these major deficiencies shouldn’t matter. Additionally, with Thunderbolt 3 making a more prominent appearance on PCs and peripherals like the Razer Core are coming to fruition, a product like the Mac Pro (and MacBook Pro! – computers that act as “CPUs” that plug into and scale with external accessories as needed) becomes a lot more viable in my mind.

And about the Mac Mini – would TB-3 tech make it easier to scale the Mac desktop line? The Mac Mini could exist as something analagous to the Intel Skull Canyon NUC – a mini computer running a higher end mobile chipset and expandable via Thunderbolt-3. The iMac then slips in as the standard desktop in the Mac lineup, defined entirely by its display (another perplexing discussion for another time), and the Mac Pro then sits above both of them in a modified form of how it exists now: a core with a Xeon CPU, ECC ram, and a built in workstation class graphics card –  but loaded with Thunderbolt-3 ports and ready for expansion via external PCI-E accessories. A Mac line like this would seem ideal to me, and not leave us lacking for a Mac for literally any application.

Of course, the problem is getting Apple to care about executing on products like this at all.

Benjamin Button Reviews The New MacBook Pro

The new MacBook Pro shows that Apple is finally becoming serious about developers.

Gone is the gimmicky TouchBar, gone are the four USB-C ports that forced power users to carry a suitcase full of dongles. In their place we get a cornucopia of developer-friendly ports: two USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 2 ports, a redesigned power connector, and a long-awaited HDMI port.

Photographers will rejoice at the surprising and welcome addition of an SDXC card reader, a sign that Apple might be thinking seriously about photography. …

I’ve now read more than a few critiques of the new MacBook Pros, but they all seem to have the same unwarranted paranoid-cookie-cutter fears. That said, this post on the Pinboard blog very concisely encapsulates everyone’s grievances in a very funny, roundabout way.