Reading written work in a web browser is old-fashioned. [No, it isn’t…] Saving an article for later requires storing the link or keeping the tab open, and sharing it requires pasting it into a text or an email. As articles update, we click through different sites and pages sorting out what’s new and what we’ve read, often running up against subscription walls or dead links. In short, it makes you want to just pick up a newspaper at Val.
And so, I present three helpful little tools to make digital reading a bit simpler:
This week I’m going to write about old news. True, I could write about Facebook going public or RIM changing captains or Apple defending its manufacturing practices. I could list off another five tips or recommend a program or remind you all to back up your hard drives. But I’m going to write about old news because it’s about time it stopped being old news.
Music pirates are, like their seagoing namesakes, approaching obsolescence. Back in February, Ars Technica reported that music files account for a marginal 2.9 percent of files managed by common torrent sites. Mojo might linger on college campuses, but we’re just an isolated, compact local network, and requiring users to browse without a global search function — going through peer by peer — works with 1,800, not 18 million.
Voice control is not new. In 1961, IBM constructed a computer called the Shoebox that could perform mathematical functions using spoken digits as input. But to watch Apple’s iPhone 4S release and to read reviewers’ accounts of Siri, you would think this new generation of voice control is the next killer app. And, as surprising as that conclusion is, it might just turn out to be accurate.
The dust has, for the most part, settled. Steve Jobs’ passing has been covered by every tech journalist from Walt Mossberg to Jon Gruber, each offering his own personal memories and insight into what made Steve special. Individuals have recounted their email exchanges with him, posting his mono-syllabic replies on the internet. I imagine, in other newspapers at other colleges, other columnists have written other articles about just how important he was.
Anyone who has purchased a personal computer in the last decade knows that computers tend to grow more powerful at an amazing rate. Buy a MacBook, wait 12 months and the next model runs at what seems to be twice the speed as your old one. People complain that we all just bought a new machine, wonder if anyone needs this level of speed and ask when the hell that Steve Jobs guy is going to stop telling me I need new gizmos and gadgets and whatchmacallits.
RIM is stuck. The Canadian manufacturer of BlackBerry products released its second fiscal quarter results last Thursday and the numbers fell below even the most pessimistic estimates: gross margin sank from 44 to 38.7 percent, the firm had shipped 10.6 million phones instead of the 11 or 12 million expected and sold a mere 200,000 units of its new PlayBook tablet computer. One bad quarter is not the end of a company, but within the context of RIM’s recent struggles it begins to sound like a death knell.