31 Aug

NYTimes.com – Lucasfilm Confirms Change to Blu-ray Release of ‘Return of the Jedi’

So it goes for the latest editions of the six “Star Wars” live-action features that are being prepared for a Blu-ray home video release on Sept. 16. Previously, it was reported that the version of “Star Wars – Episode I: The Phantom Menace” included in this release would replace the puppet version of the Yoda character with a computer-generated creation. Then on Tuesday, an online report by Devin Faraci suggested a revelation almost as troubling as the news that Luke and Leia had been brother and sister all along: in a climactic scene from “Return of the Jedi,” when Darth Vader hurls the evil Emperor to his demise on the Death Star, he would now shout “No!” (In all previous versions of “Jedi,” Vader has committed this crucial deed in silence.)

On Wednesday, a press representative for Lucasfilm confirmed that this change will be included in the Blu-ray release, writing in an e-mail: “Yes — Darth says NO.”

via NYTimes.com – Lucasfilm Confirms Change to Blu-ray Release of ‘Return of the Jedi’. Lucas have you not done enough already?

31 Aug

The Ad Contrarian – Advertising And The Future Of Apple

After Steve Jobs stepped down as CEO of Apple last week, speculation about the company’s future began immediately.

The consensus seemed to be that Jobs built a strong culture, hired smart people, and taught a way of thinking that will serve Apple well in the future. The story line went like this– while Jobs will be missed, he is no longer essential to the future of the company and it will go on brilliantly without him.

I don’t buy this for a second. Genius is non-transferable.

via The Ad Contrarian – Advertising And The Future Of Apple. Not a bad negative outlook of Apple post Steve Jobs, it starts with a pretty good premise but the conclusion doesn’t jibe. For instance I don’t think anyone argued Apple would stay the same or even that it should. Apple will change. The larger question and worry is, is Apple still the innovative company that it was under Steve Jobs? Would such innovations as the iPad (creating a whole new market) or the iPod (dominate per-exisiting market with superior technology and design).

The argument that genius doesn’t transfer is a smoke-screen, it’s a stupid question with a stupid answer, and doesn’t get to the heart of the matter. Is Apple able to remember the lessons of Steve Jobs and maintain it’s identity in the face of the man who created that identity no longer present? That’s the real question and the only one that matters.

If Apple is able to maintain it’s identity then it won’t ever hire people without vision and taste and turn into something other than maker of products at the intersection of Liberal Arts and Technology.

29 Aug

Shawn Blanc – The Amazon Tablet

If and when the next iPad ships with its Retina Display, it will obviate the need for a “better” dedicated reading device in the minds of many consumers. Amazon doesn’t need another me-too tablet. They need something that pulls on all the strengths they already have: the high readability of e-ink, a low price, lightweight, a huge ecosystem, and a strong brand. If not that, then what?

via Shawn Blanc – The Amazon Tablet. Best summation of what the Amazon tablet if it’s going to make a splash needs to be. I would totally buy one in a heartbeat, I want a Kindle that just has slightly better hardware and drops the keyboard or at least designs it better.

28 Aug

Universal Hub – Court says state law used to ban recording of police officers in public is unconstitutional

A Boston lawyer suing the city and police officers who arrested him for using his cell phone to record a drug arrest on the Common won a victory today when a federal appeals court said the officers could not claim "qualified immunity" because they were performing their job when they arrested him under a state law that bars audio recordings without the consent of both parties.

In its ruling, which lets Simon Glik continue his lawsuit, the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston said the way Glik was arrested and his phone seized under a state wiretapping law violated his First and Fourth Amendment rights:

via Universal Hub – Court says state law used to ban recording of police officers in public is unconstitutional. I could not be happier with this ruling.

28 Aug

NYTimes.com – Man Accused of Stalking via Twitter Claims Free Speech

They certainly rattled Alyce Zeoli, a Buddhist leader based in Maryland. Using an ever-changing series of pseudonyms, the authorities say, Mr. Cassidy published thousands of Twitter posts about Ms. Zeoli. Some were weird horror-movie descriptions of what would befall her; others were more along these lines: “Do the world a favor and go kill yourself. P.S. Have a nice day.”

Those relentless tweets landed Mr. Cassidy in jail on charges of online stalking and placed him at the center of an unusual federal case that asks the question: Is posting a public message on Twitter akin to speaking from an old-fashioned soapbox, or can it also be regarded as a means of direct personal communication, like a letter or phone call?

via NYTimes.com – Man Accused of Stalking via Twitter Claims Free Speech. It’s an interesting case because while Twitter itself is a public medium, the person is directing their messages to a particular person. The better analogy may be while in the pulpit pointing to a particular person and speaking. At that point are you still creating a public message or is it a message directed at one person?

27 Aug

Tantek – How many ways can you slice a URL and name the pieces?

I was developing a small single purpose microsite and decided to build it using CASSIS not just for application logic, but for the server-side runtime execution and flow as well. I figured the needs of a simple real world site would work well to drive the design of a simple runtime.

No need to invent anything new, just re-use Apache/CGI environment variables (e.g. as used in PHP, like SERVER_NAME). But they look like old C constants, and CASSIS coders will be more familiar with Javascript.

Window.location’s properties seem reasonable, until you get to "search" for the "?" query part of a URL. What about the source, the specs for URL and HTTP? And that’s when I started to see the problem.

With a little more research I found a half-dozen different ways to slice and dice URLs. Kevin Marks asked me, what about Python? And that made seven. I published my research publicly on the microformats wiki, which is a good place to document existing formats for something (a key step in the microformats process).

Among all the differences (and overloading of the same terms to mean different things) it did seem that there were some patterns. So I made a diagram of a sample URL, chopped into pieces and named according to seven different conventions over the years, in the hopes that doing so might reveal such patterns.

via Tantek – How many ways can you slice a URL and name the pieces?. Or standards are so awesome everyone keeps making a new one.

26 Aug

QuirksBlog – Twelve steps for saving webOS

I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of webOS, and have decided it does have one, maybe even a glorious one, provided the new owner or licensee reaches out to web developers, as Palm should have done back in 2009.

So here are twelve steps the new owner should take in order to get webOS to thrive.

via QuirksBlog – Twelve steps for saving webOS. Pretty good plan to take a webOS into a top tier platform for developers, though not much to get in the hands of consumers which would beat every other factor and practically guarantee bringing developers.

24 Aug

NYTimes.com – Its Gene Patents Upheld, Myriad Genetics Moves to Protect Its Secrets

Myriad Genetics retained its monopoly on a lucrative genetic test for breast cancer risk when a federal appeals court recently upheld the company’s patents on two human genes — and the validity of gene patents in general.

But it is only a matter of time before the company’s business faces severe challenges, some experts say, because that $3,340 test is technologically outmoded, incomplete and too costly.

“Science has moved beyond what these folks do,” said Mary-Claire King, a professor of genome sciences and medicine at the University of Washington. “It’s not good for the science and it’s not good for the patients and their clinicians if they cannot have the most complete, up-to-date information.”

via NYTimes.com – Its Gene Patents Upheld, Myriad Genetics Moves to Protect Its Secrets. Regardless of whether or not you agree with the idea of patents on genes, the fact that these patents are forcing patients to undergo a more expensive and less effective procedure should give anyone concern.

24 Aug

Apple – Letter from Steve Jobs

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

via Apple – Letter from Steve Jobs. It’s a day everyone knew was coming but that doesn’t make it any less shocking or a little sad. Steve Jobs has created the modern Apple, which created the iPod, iPhone and iPad. That same Apple is still around and will be around for many years to come.