China is such an enigma, capable engendering such massive change. Watching it work around the world is mind-expanding.
"The Chinese interest in Africa ... their coming into our markets is the best thing that could have happened to us," says small-business contractor Amare Kifle, during a recent meeting with a Chinese investor in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa. "We are tired of the condescending American style. True, the American government and American companies have done and do a lot here, but I always feel like they think they are doing us a favor ... telling us how to do things and punishing us when we do it our own way.Link (via Thoof)
"These Chinese are different," he says. "They are about the bottom line and allow us to sort out our side of the business as we see fit. I want to have a business partner and do business. I don't want to have a philosophical debate about Africa's future."...
"China is the most self-conscious rising power in history and is desperate to be seen as a benign force as well as to learn from the mistakes of the existing major powers and previous rising powers," says Andrew Small, a Brussels-based China expert at the German Marshall Fund, a public policy think tank. "It sees its modern national story as anticolonial – about surpassing the "century of humiliation" at the hands of the colonial powers – and still thinks of itself, in many ways, as a part of the developing world."
Another approach would be to reform the practices that Moore criticises in the film -- for example, refusing to pay for an insured individual's surgery because she didn't mention a 15-year-old yeast infection on her application; denying MRIs to patients with brain tumors; and paying medical directors bonuses for denying claims.
But why make your customers healthier -- at shareholder expense -- when you can just give money to Google to FUD and astroturf the issue?
The healthcare industry is no stranger to negative press. A drug may be a blockbuster one day and tolled as a public health concern the next. News reporters may focus on Pharma’s annual sales and its executives’ salaries while failing to share R&D costs. Or, as is often common, the media may use an isolated, heartbreaking, or sensationalist story to paint a picture of healthcare as a whole. With all the coverage, it’s a shame no one focuses on the industry’s numerous prescription programs, charity services, and philanthropy efforts.I watched Sicko for the second time last night (I downloaded it a couple weeks ago via The Pirate Bay, with Moore's blessing, then went to see it in a cinema with a crowd), and it was incredibly moving. This is the kind of movie that can change the world -- no matter how much money the HMOs throw at FUD. Link (via Google Blogoscoped)
Many of our clients face these issues; companies come to us hoping we can help them better manage their reputations through “Get the Facts” or issue management campaigns. Your brand or corporate site may already have these informational assets, but can users easily find them?
We can place text ads, video ads, and rich media ads in paid search results or in relevant websites within our ever-expanding content network. Whatever the problem, Google can act as a platform for educating the public and promoting your message. We help you connect your company’s assets while helping users find the information they seek.
See also: Moore's "Sicko" leaks onto P2P
Kyle Baker is one of the most versatile comics creators working in the business today. My gateway to his work was his side-splitting Why I Hate Saturn, a decidedly adult graphic novel. Since then, I've sampled his histories of slave revolts, family comedy collections, and many other works with wildly varying artistic and narrative styles.
In the Plastic Man books, Baker invokes the maddest, wildest spit-takes of comic and cartoon history, with silly plotlines that had me spraying water out my nose -- Plastic Man and his FBI girlfriend borrow Superman's time-machine to take Abraham Lincoln (who turns out to be John Wilkes Booth in clever disguise) back in time, end up bringing a dinosaur to civil-war America, where the maddened saurian squishes a Klan rally -- and that's just the set-up.
The artwork owes a debt to MAD's Sergio Argones and Will Eisner, by way of the Incredibles' stylish palette, dipping into Tex Avery for the spit-takes. Every layout has hidden gags for the attentive reader. This is what underwear pervert funnybooks should be like: self-reflective, over-the-top, and political. Vol 1: Plastic Man: On the Lam, Vol 2: Plastic Man: Rubber Bandits
From the looks of this teardown, the bulk of iPhone's slender innards is the battery. Shown here: "The screen we're pulling away is a somewhat translucent surface, behind it is the touch screen surface itself." Link to "Apple's iPhone Dissected: We did it, so you don't have to," at Anandtech.com.
Previously on BoingBoing:
When I talked to Larry about this move, he blue-skyed a neat little idea that's stuck with me: what if lawmakers were required to abstain from votes over issues in which they had a financial interest? For example, if you take money from the health industry, you can't vote on health-related issues. I serve on a bunch of boards, some for-profit and some non-profit, and it's standard that board members abstain from voting on governance issues in which they have a conflict of interest. It's just common sense -- so why not apply it to Congress? Link
I'm in a cafe in Los Angeles right now with Sean Bonner, kicking the tires on the iPhone we just brought back from the Apple store at the Grove. In two words: totally sweet.
It lives up to the hype. All the rules just changed.
Both of us were skeptical about the lack of a conventional keyboard, but so far, it's awesome. Sean's tapping out a bunch of Twitters and emails, single-fingeredly, and sailing through. iPhone does a remarkable job of sniffing out what you meant to type if you goof a little -- more so than any other mobile interface I've used. It'll take some getting used to, and it's not the same as a conventional keyboard. But it does not suck at all. I can imagine typing two-thumbed pretty soon.
This cafe where we are right now has an open WiFi network, so data speed as we're testing this for the first time is fantastically fast. Automatically connects if the network is open.
When you connect to internet using AT&T's 300 kbps EDGE network, it does feel pretty poky. More like sub-dial-up, particularly in places where the signal is weak. Still -- faster than what you may be used to on any number of lamer US smartphones. Faster than I was used to on several models of Treos, and some Windows Mobile smartphones. Wherever there's WiFi you can connect to (and this is instant, and works wonderfully), there's a lot more speed. Presumably, the provided speed from AT&T will be faster as services evolve. (Why'd they go with EDGE? See this NYT article by John Markoff: Link).
Some of the first things that make us go "ajskdfgjhdfhakjomg":
(2) The pinch (Xeni: it's super intuitive. I wish I could do this on every electronic device I own. I wish Apple would release a tablet with this on it.")
(3) Thumb typing (Sean: "Dude I can't believe it actually works." Xeni: "And functions fine even with wet or greasy fingertips.")
(4) It syncs beautifully with the Mac (Xeni: "All my personal data synced from the Macbook to the iPhone in a minute or two -- more than 6,000 contacts, several gigs of songs, podcasts, audiobooks, and video, and a dense calendar.")
(5) Activation went fine, even in the epic crunch time, proving naysayer reports wrong. (Xeni: "worked without a hitch, wait for server response at end of process was only a couple minutes, all very easy." / Update: all the iPhone-buying friends I spoke with had similarly breezy experiences this weekend, but apparently some folks who were existing AT&T customers had a bad time.)
(6) Orientation awareness (Sean: "It's so fucking sexy. It works THREE ways.")
(7) It just works, with no "stupid" getting in your way. It's simple and elegant. When have you ever used the word elegant to describe a phone UI, for chrissakes? (our pal Michael Baffico just arrived here at the cafe to check out the iPhone: "I've had it 7 minutes and I've already figured out how to play music, check stocks, browse the web, make calls, and a bunch of other stuff, with nobody showing me anything -- all in the time it would normally take me to load one shitty page on my Treo." Then he left to go buy one before all the stores closed).
(8) Holy crap, the Google Maps with real-time traffic data? OK, no GPS in this first-gen iPhone, but this feature is incredible. Not just local US data, either: I'm zooming off to satellite views of Africa, Europe, or Asia with the flick of an index finger.
(9) Navigating media is like slicing buttah. The iPod interface, with the flippy album cover Jedi hand gesture response -- oh man.
(10) Multiple web browser windows are a nice touch.
(11) The little camera in this thing is terrific, takes great, crisp, vivid shots.
(12) Oh, right, and the, uh, phone! Visual voicemail features were really nice, and voice quality was fine when we tested it in a few locations around LA, in a few different kinds of noise environments.
We're IMming with my pal Wayne in NYC, a former Apple employee from ages of yore. He says,
Apple now has a DUTY to export this interface to their entire product line. Today's iPhone naysayers probably don't appreciate the significance of the UI shift that happened today. The computer industry may once again -- at the hands of apple -- never be the same again. The interface reminds me of the scene in the film Minority Report where the pre-crimes unit staff were manipulating and viewing multimedia data using direct gestures. I feel like we're getting a taste of that kind of direct interface control today with the iPhone.Agreed. The crush at the Grove was incredible, lines for four blocks or more, but the process was very smooth when the countdown to 6pm ended. Apple employees lined up on either side like it was a military procession or catwalk, and applauded as each line-waiter entered.
Also, I've never been in and out of an Apple Store so quickly before, the queue time aside (only 1 hour wait -- totally reasonable considering) the time spent in the store was organized despite the excitement and the transaction itself may have been faster than any other visit.
The fact that this device requires a two-year lockdown with one specific carrier, AT&T, is the biggest concern I have. As Cory has blogged here previously, they're under fire for "their stand on net neutrality, their warrantless wiretapping, and their handing over of customer records to the NSA" (EFF lawsuit details here, interview with whistleblower here). AT&T also recently announced plans to police traffic on their data network to see if customers are infringing copyrights, and the details of that plan have digital rights advocates worried.
Some lesser gotchas I will resent in varying degrees when the newlywed buzz wears off: The battery's not removable, no way to carry around a spare to pop in when you can't get to power. No IM, GPS, or video capture. No expandable storage (8 gigs sure fills up quick). No third-party apps, no Java or Flash inside the Safari browser. No copy/paste. Most non-iPhone-issued headphones won't fit without adapters or hacks. The terrific iChat-like SMS interface is coupled with wack pricing from AT&T for which there's no alternative (web-based apps to the rescue?). No "period" on the main qwerty keyboard (sounds like a small thing, but all those extra taps add up when you're txting), and that keyboard is the one thing which isn't directionally adjustable (except in Safari) -- would be nice to have it go sideways so it can be a little larger, particularly for users with bigger fingers than mine (which fit fine on the keyboard as is). Also, you can read but not edit Word or Excel files -- still, cmon, look me in the monitor and tell me you've ever actually edited a Word or Excel file on your phone?
This is a first-generation product with room to grow. But man, what a 1.0.
Many of the quibbles I listed above can (and no doubt will) be fixed by simple software updates, and Christ, all the pluses are overwhelming.
The interface makes all the other mobile devices I have around the office look dumpy and half-functional; the sleek form factor makes my other smartphones look morbidly obese. I want to pick them up and gaze upon them pityingly, then throw them all in a blender and hit "puree."
I may be high on launch fumes right now, but this feels like just about the coolest device I've ever owned. I just don't want to go back to any other phone now.
It isn't hype if the product lives up to it.
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Previously on BoingBoing:
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Reader comments: # Ville T from "hellsinki, finland, europe, earth" says:
hello from hellsinki finland, xeni! thanks for the illustrative post about the iphone. here's a question i've seen no-one covering in this massive iphone extravaganza:# [Xeni] Right, good question. In the few short hours I've played around with this, it's been two-handed. But now that you mention it -- sure, simple functions are fine one-handed.
can the iphone be used with only one hand? and if not, can anything be done using one hand? for example, answering/making a call or taking a photo?
in all the photos in the coverage, everybody is always supporting the thing with another hand. an easy, but obvious thing for mobile stuff, but i've seen no-one cover yet. maybe bb could do it? ;)
Sitting here now, cradling iPhone in my right hand, I can navigate and bang out a simple text with that same thumb. I can skim through music and video libraries pretty easily, the same way. I can dial a call easily with one hand. Other more complex tasks are definitely two hands. Maybe that will change as I grow used to the device.
On the drive back from the Grove, Sean and I were talking about this -- texting while driving (not that this is safe or responsible in the first place) is pretty much out of the question with this. You probably couldn't sneak-text, blind, with one hand under the table, during a boring meeting, like you might with a Blackberry or Sidekick or Helio or Treo.
The fact that the interface doesn't hate me like all other phones do makes up for that. I can imagine much of this feeling more natural with less effort (and one less hand) in a few weeks.
[Update: 48 hours later, my type speed has increased a lot, and I'm one-handing a lot of basic tasks. There's no usability pain here.]
# zyzz says,
The iPhone can also be used as a video iPod without connecting to AT&T's network. You do have to activate it, but if you remove the sim card after activation, you have all the functionality that does not require voice or data. It's a bitchin video ipod.
# Paul Jones says:
Testing out the YouTube app on the new iPhone and I was super-impressed by the quality and speed of the download on the WIFI network.# BB reader Church has an answer for that:
But this morning I tried to search for some of the videos that amused me most. Less Okay-Go and more 60s concerts. Searching for "Byrds" did't give me any Byrds concerts when searching on the iPhone's YouTube utility. It gave me Paris Hilton getting out of jail and someone named Byrd shouting at her. Names of Bryds members gave me no videos found!
But back on the web at YouTube.com, I got lots and lots of Byrds. No problem.
YIKES! Is the iPhoneTube only licensed material? Is the great old stuff and the new crazy homebrew stuff cut out?
try comparing "chumbawamba" on both platforms. plenty of our fav anarchist band in the web. one funky domino vid on iphone with 'tubtumping' in the background.
That's because the iPhone (and AppleTV) use h.264 instead of Flash for video, and youtube hasn't converted its entire libarary over. The linked story from AP estimates 10M vids by the iPhone's launch date.# Wayne points out an interesting battery-related note in this Apple advisory, and an awesome tip for creating inbox subfolders for iPhone Mail here.
# BB pal J points us to this hardware durability test at PC World: Link to "How Tough Is the iPhone?"
# Gitai R. Ben-Ammi says,
I understand that Apple loves to have a unified package for their design with minimal places where you could pull stuff apart, and that’s okay for the iPod. I can go a few days without my music while the battery gets replaced. I’m a small businessman though, and my cell phone is half of my business, with my laptop being the other half. I can’t go for one day without my phone, much less three to five. If they could do in store replacement in a couple hours, that would be fine, but otherwise, Apple needs to bite the bullet and have a battery which can be removed and replaced by the consumer. Until that happens, I ain’t buying.
[Update / Sunday July 1: Some of the battery-related criticisms floating around, including this one, are high on my list of gotchas, too. I'm still enthusiastically pleased with the device overall, but this is not an insignificant issue. On the plus side, I'm hearing rumors you'll be able to hang on to your SIM card and plug it into any other another compatible phone while your iPhone is in the shop -- I'll check into that.]
# Zach Brock writes,
I picked up an iPhone at the 3rd St Promenade store yesterday, and it was just like you described the Grove. A ton of people waiting, but more of a jubilant feeling in the air than anything. The apple employees wandering down the line assuring everyone that they had plenty in stock helped also. Anyway, I wrote up my first impressions of the phone. It might look like a lot of negatives, but really these are the only things I could find wrong with it. If I tried to type up everything RIGHT I wouldn't have had a chance to sleep last night. Here's the link.# Micah Arbisser says,
Why are all the reviews making such a big deal out of the Google Maps feature? I've had the Google Maps applet (with real time traffic data) on my Blackberry for a year now. And my Blackberry works on Verizon's EVDO network, so it should be a lot faster than the iPhone's EDGE network.Dude, seriously -- it's the touchscreen, the scrollable, expandable, pinchable, lovable touchscreen.
# Wired News managing editor Evan Hansen points to an interesting juxtaposition they ran today:
Surreal world we live in, with iPhone shoppers lining up in U.S. as Londoners shake off bomb terror threats. We ran a photo gallery today juxtaposing images from both scenes. Makes for an interesting media critique, given search results from Google News for the past day show stories about the iPhone outnumbering stories about London's bomb scare by a margin of three to one. Link to slideshow.# Sushi Suzuki says,
My friend and I just calculated how much time was wasted (and hence money) waiting for the iPhone today (and yesterday and ...). (150 Apple Stores x 100 People/Apple Store + 10,000 AT&T Stores x 20 People/AT&T Store) x 8 hr/person x $20/hr = $34,400,000. Link.# Tim Shey blogs:
Last night, as I looked at all the photos tagged “iphone” rolling in on Flickr, I wanted to capture all the iconic first photos people would inevitably take with their new iPhone once they got it. At the same time, I wondered, can an iPhone buy happiness*? So I started two competing groups at the same time: Photos of me with an iPhone, and Photos of me without an iPhone. Here are some of my favorite photos posted in the last 12 hours so far...Link.
# Snip from the Time review -- here, Lev Grossman starts with his a laundry list of quibbles:
For example: AT&T's data network is slow (though it seems to be improving). It's a bummer that the camera doesn't shoot video. The glass touchscreen keyboard is kinda freaky (though if there was ever a moment for an ad campaign to license Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Put 'Em on the Glass," this is it). GPS would be nice. So would instant messaging. YouTube videos – in the little YouTube client Apple has ginned up – sound great but look lousy. And yeah, there's that content management quirk mentioned above.# And finally, below: at 30 seconds before 6pm on Friday, June 29, 2007, the faithful masses raise offerings to the Apple gods.
Cold fusion would be great too, but you know what? Nobody cares. Steve Jobs has said, repeatedly, that this is the best iPod that Apple has ever made, and it is. It's also the best phone that anybody has ever made.
(...) For the iPhone, Apple has brought to market a revolutionarily smart, sensitive touchscreen and created an entirely new user interface to match it, all in one go, so seamlessly that my 3-year-old daughter – and I apologize for going to this place, but the fact is striking nonetheless – had no trouble unlocking the iPhone and dialing with it (even though she believed that she was playing a musical instrument).
He produced a great write-up of the experience, with links to video, pics, and a long narrative describing his experience.
He also has this link to a site specializing in photos of top-s33kr1t piccies of the backstage mechanisms at Disneyland. Control-room porn at its finest!
Disneyland's Haunted Mansion Cast Members occasionally have a chance to perform what are called magical moments. These are moments in which the guest experience is enhanced by Cast Members performing in ways that are not regularly seen. The ghost dog walking is one such magical moment. Inside the Mansion, there are two others, both taking place in the changing portrait hallway.Link (Thanks, Ricky!)
The first was a pair of feather dusters that Mansion Cast Members use up and down the portrait hallway, dusting the walls, portraits, and most importantly, the chains and bat stanchions along the sides of the room.
This proved to be one of the most fun moments of the entire weekend. Guests regularly rest their hands on the stanchions or run their hands along the metal chains. Allison told me that her favorite bit is to walk up to the guests and give them a sinister look, making it clear that you want them to stop touching the chains and stanchions. I took her recommendation and once they got the message, I would quickly dust whatever areas they had touched. I got a lot of laughs with this routine.
Taberu Me cards are created using Arigatou’s high-grade CO2 laser engraver nicknamed “Shiawase-kun,” which can etch up to 700 characters per second on hard organic materials like beans, nuts, rice and pasta and which has been optimized to print clean-looking logos, names and telephone numbers on the irregular surfaces of peanut shells.
Business-card punch-out cutlery
Business card that sprouts
Business-card converts to set of lockpicks
Cutlery made out of potato starch
Cutlery with wrenches on the end
Anti-terror cutlery for airline security theater
Moo Cards: Stunning kid-sized custom biz-cards with Flickr pix
These giant olde timey letters painted on shop shutters in the East End of London are reportedly the work of a graffiti artist named Eine. (The layout seen here is mine.) Flickr user Dave Gorman collected them all. Link (via Juxtapoz)
UPDATE: BB reader Carl Pappenheim made a neat little program that takes whatever you type and converts it into the Eine "font." Link
Beer was thrown, rock fists raised high in the air, and bad contestants ridiculed. Congratulations to Rick Stinkfingers who will represent the Bay Area at the US Air Guitar Championships in New York City. He will compete against the other regional champs as well as last year's SF winner, Hot "Lixx" Hoolihan.Link
Previously on BB:
• Air guitar t-shirt Link
A young man was admitted from prison to a psychiatric facility after reports that he had been acting in a bizarre manner. He had been arrested for stealing motor vehicles and assaults with weapons. At interview he was found to be experiencing the delusion that he was a player inside a computer game (adult-certificate game, widely available) in which points are scored for stealing cars, killing assailants and avoiding police vehicles. Psychotic symptoms had emerged slowly over two years. His family had noticed him becoming increasingly withdrawn and isolated from social activities. He developed delusions that strangers were planning to kill him and also experienced auditory hallucinations, constantly hearing an abusive and derogatory voice. Previously a computer enthusiast, he began to play computer games incessantly. He felt that the games were communicating with him via the headphones. In a complex delusional system he came to believe he was inside one of these games and had to steal a car to start scoring points. He broke into a car and drove off at speed, believing he had `invulnerable' fuel and so could not run out of petrol. To gain points he chose to steal increasingly powerful vehicles, threatening and assaulting the owners with weapons. Later he said he would have had no regrets if he had killed someone, since this would have increased his score.This reminds me of the guy in Robert Lindner’s book about psychiatric curiosities, The Fifty Minute Hour, who thought he was John Carter of Mars (or maybe Cordwainer Smith, as this guy believes). Link(Via Mindhacks)
(Click on thumbnails for enlargement)
I laughed and laughed at the Dick Car note post on Boing Boing. Sometimes writing the right kind of note to get your point across works perfectly.
We live in Amarillo, Texas, home of Hummers, pickups, and Bush love. During the last presidential campaign, we had had three Kerry signs stolen from our yard (one within minutes of us getting home from a soccer game -- it was there when we drove up and seconds later, when I passed the window, it was gone.
So I thought about sticking broken glass on the sign's edges, but then I came up with an even better idea. Attached is a pict of what I did.
No one stole our sign after that.
Previously on Boing Boing:
• Passive aggressive notes taped in offices and shared houses
• Bizarre self-referential warning sign
• Japanese warning signs
• Scary Russian warning sign
• Stick figure danger sign Flickr pool
• Atrocious apostrophe's and "quotation" "mark" "abuse" photo galleries
Previously on BoingBoing:
Reader comment: Nathan says,
This is a photo of me and Steve Wozniak. He arrived at the Valley Fair mall apple store on a Segway at around 5am, he has been sitting in front of the store ever since. I am in line blogging about my experiences.
UPDATE 3PM PT: A secret NYC operative tells BoingBoing at 3:05PM PT, "Spike Lee is suddenly the first person in line at the midtown Apple store. I don't know if he bought the place in line or what, but he wasn't there before, and he is now. He's being mobbed by papparazzi, bigtime. The line is like 2 blocks long. It's like Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, everyone is waiting to open their box and find a golden ticket..."
Threadbared is exactly the kind of blog I love -- tightly focused on a single subject, with obsessive annotation. In this case, there's nothing but unusual photos from vintage sewing and knitting pattern books and envelopes. You can view the photos by decade (from the 40s to the 90s). Link (Via PCL Linkdump)