Tag Archive for ‘The New York Times’

Pelosi Pressed Pentagon on Safeguards to Prevent Trump From Ordering Military Action ➝

David E. Sanger, and Eric Schmitt, reporting for The New York Times:

But some Defense Department officials clearly resented being asked to act outside of the legal authority of the 25th Amendment and saw it as more evidence of a broken political system. They said that some political leaders were trying to get the Pentagon to do the work of Congress and cabinet secretaries, who have legal options to remove a president.

Mr. Trump, they noted, is still the commander in chief; unless he is removed, the military is bound to follow his lawful orders. While military officials can refuse to carry out orders they view as illegal — or slow the process by sending those orders for careful legal review — they cannot remove the president from the chain of command. That would amount to a military coup, the officials said.

This path is far worse than we realize. We need to de-escalate.

➝ Source: nytimes.com

Challenges of Getting a Product Made in the U.S.A. ➝

Gregory Schmidt, writing for The New York Times:

It was craftsmanship rather than the bottom line that motivated Brian Holmes when he decided in 2010 to start a business and went looking for a manufacturer. He and his wife, Kari, started Pad & Quill, a company based in Minneapolis that makes high-end cases and other products for the iPhone and other Apple products.

This is a great profile on the founding of Pad & Quill. I’ve never owned any of their products but I’ve been aware of the company for quite sometime and always admired their work.

Amazon Unveils Online Education Service for Teachers ➝

Natasha Singer looked at Amazon’s new endeavor from a “technology in the classroom” perspective, but I think that’s a little off the mark. One of the biggest problems in education is the erosion of planning time. Teachers are spending more time with students in the classroom and are given less time to produce lesson plans. Unless something radical changes, teachers need resources like this to keep their head above water. This may turn into technology in the classroom play at some point in the future, but in the meantime, it’s going to be more about good old fashioned worksheets and instructional guidance.

For Podcasters, the iTunes Store Is Too Good to Be True ➝

Ben Brooks, with a contrarian view to the recent podcasting kerfuffle:

Apple has no financial reason to keep this going. If anything, the argument could be daftly made that they have financial incentive to nuke all their work in podcasts.

Apple allowed podcasters to charge for podcasts — and took their infamous 30% — now they have financial incentive to keep it going. Now they have incentive to promote podcasts. It’s not a win-win — you would likely lose some (if not all) of the decentralized and “open” nature of podcasting.

But is that not better than losing it all?

The only way to ensure that a company will continue developing a platform is if they derive value from it. Apple’s built and maintained a podcast directory and listening software for over a decade with zero financial incentive — that’s almost unheard of. Don’t get me wrong, I love podcasting the way it is, but I also loved the state of RSS when Google Reader was around. And we all know how that turned out.

On Apple’s Discussion With Podcast Producers

Remember when iOS 9 came out and all the major publishers complained about how ad blockers were going to kill online publishing? Many of us reacted by proclaiming that ad blocking was inevitable — publishers needed to adapt or die. Over the past few days, I’ve noticed another community complaining about a recent Apple decision. This time, the outrage in my Twitter timeline is from podcasters and centers around a recent New York Times article.

Aside from the fact that ad blockers actually shipped on iOS, this situation is very reminiscent of what I saw from big-name publishers after iOS 9 shipped last September. If you were to believe the podcasters I follow on Twitter, you’d think the entire podcasting ecosystem was collapsing in on its self.

The NYT piece revealed that seven “leading podcast professionals” met with Apple to discuss “several pressing issues” — listener tracking, promotion within iTunes, the ability to charge subscription pricing for shows, etc.

Marco Arment wrote a fantastic reaction piece that does a great job explaining what Apple’s role is in podcasting. But I think it’s important to highlight this bit toward the end about the likelihood of Apple providing these changes for podcasters:

And if that ill-informed New York Times article is correct in broad strokes, which is a big “if” given how much it got wrong about Apple’s role in podcasting, big podcasters want Apple to add more behavioral data and creepy tracking to the Apple Podcasts app, then share the data with them. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that.

I’m in agreement with Marco. Seriously, what has Apple ever done that would lead these “podcast professionals” to believe that Apple would do this? I can’t imagine Apple following up their stance on the San Bernardino iPhone case by tracking users listening habits with their podcast app. It isn’t going to happen.

Go ahead and re-read the NYT piece. Never does it say that Apple is even considering these changes, simply that they exist and that Apple allowed a small handful of podcasters to share these concerns with them. That’s all the article says.

I think it’s important to remember that as long as the current crop of successful indie podcast producers continue to make shows that people want to listen to, they’ll have an audience. It doesn’t matter what Apple or any of these “leading podcast professionals” do, quality content will survive. Apple isn’t going to kill the business.

And any new podcasting initiative or service that they launch is far more likely to grow the total number of podcast listeners than ruin the medium entirely. Everything’s going to be fine.

You and I will still be able to listen to shows like Accidental Tech Podcast, The Talk Show, and Connected. They’ll continue to earn advertising revenue for their producers and we’ll still be able to use our favorite podcatcher for playback. Podcasting platforms have come and gone, but all of this has remained true since Dave Winer and Adam Curry first invented the medium in 2004. Things might change and evolve over time, but that tends to happen with technologies. And it’s okay.

Apple Talks With Podcast Producers ➝

John Herrman, reporting for The New York Times:

Late last month, Apple brought seven leading podcast professionals to the company’s campus in Cupertino, Calif., to air their case to a room full of employees, according to two people who were there. The people would speak only on the condition of anonymity because they had signed nondisclosure agreements. The company made no promises, the people said, but several pressing issues for podcasters were discussed in frank terms.

Apple still has a dominant position in the podcasting market, but that could change if they don’t make improvements soon — for podcast creators and listeners. This rumor gives me hope that Apple isn’t letting grass grow under their feet.

Apple’s First Foray Into Original TV Is a Series About Apps ➝

Emily Steel, reporting for the New York Times:

Apple announced on Thursday that it was working with the entertainer Will.i.am and two veteran TV executives, Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens, on a new show that will spotlight the app economy.

“One of the things with the app store that was always great about it was the great ideas that people had to build things and create things,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services, said in an interview.

Details about the production are scant, and it was unclear how directly the show would promote or refer to Apple’s own app store. Executives declined to discuss specifics, such as financing, title, timeline, storylines, episode length or how people will watch the show.

The Amazon Echo Brims With Groundbreaking Promise ➝

Farhad Manjoo, writing for The New York Times:

When the Echo was introduced in a goofy video in late 2014, on the heels of the failure of the Fire Phone, it was widely ridiculed. The Echo’s utility was not obvious, and in its earliest incarnation, it seemed a bit of a ditz. […]

Many in the industry have long looked to the smartphone as the remote control for your world. But the phone has limitations. A lot of times fiddling with a screen is just too much work. By perfecting an interface that is much better suited to home use — the determined yell! — Amazon seems on the verge of building something like Iron Man’s Jarvis, the artificial-intelligence brain at the center of all your household activities. Who could say no to that?

Count me in with those who doubted the Amazon Echo at launch, but the device is starting to grow on me. I still don’t own one, but I no longer laugh at the idea of having one in my kitchen to be used while doing dishes or cooking.