SmugMug Buying Flickr »

Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY:

Flickr has been snapped up by Silicon Valley photo-sharing and storage company SmugMug, USA TODAY has learned.

SmugMug CEO Don MacAskill told USA TODAY he’s committed to breathing new life into the faded social networking pioneer, which hosted photos and lively interactions long before it became trendy.

SmugMug, an independent, family-run company, will maintain Flickr as a standalone community of amateur and professional photographers and give the long neglected service the focus and resources it deserves, MacAskill said in an exclusive interview.

Once upon a time, Flickr was a vibrant community, and one that I really loved being a part of. I still have an account — after removing most of my archives in protest when Yahoo bought the site — and am hopeful SmugMug can keep it going, but I think the glory days are still in the past.

The Woman Who Gave the Macintosh a Smile »

Alexandra Lange has a wonderful profile of Susan Kare in The New Yorker:

Every fifteen minutes or so, as I wrote this story, I moved my cursor northward to click on the disk in the Microsoft Word toolbar that indicates “Save.” This is a superstitious move, as my computer automatically saves my work every ten minutes. But I learned to use a computer in the era before AutoSave, in the dark ages when remembering to save to a disk often stood between you and term-paper disaster. The persistence of that disk icon into the age of flash drives and cloud storage is a sign of its power. A disk means “Save.” Susan Kare designed a version of that disk, as part of the suite of icons that made the Macintosh revolutionary—a computer that you could communicate with in pictures.

Very few designers have impacted the world the way Susan Kare has, and I don’t just say that because I have a dogcow tattoo on the inside of my right ankle.

Google Chat »

Nice exclusive by Dieter Bohn at The Verge, about Google’s reboot of its mobile messaging strategy:

Instead of bringing a better app to the table, it’s trying to change the rules of the texting game, on a global scale. Google has been quietly corralling every major cellphone carrier on the planet into adopting technology to replace SMS. It’s going to be called “Chat,” and it’s based on a standard called the “Universal Profile for Rich Communication Services.” SMS is the default that everybody has to fall back to, and so Google’s goal is to make that default texting experience on an Android phone as good as other modern messaging apps.

As part of that effort, Google says it’s “pausing” work on its most recent entry into the messaging space, Allo. It’s the sort of “pause” that involves transferring almost the entire team off the project and putting all its resources into another app, Android Messages.

Using RCS means Chat won’t be end-to-end encrypted, and like SMS, could be handed over to governments by phone carriers. No thanks.

Marsha Blackburn: ISPs Should Charge for Fast Lanes »

Jon Brodkin at Ars Technica, writing about a representative from my home state of Tennessee:

Congressional Republicans want to impose “net neutrality” rules that allow Internet service providers to charge online services and websites for priority access to consumers. Making the case for paid prioritization Tuesday, US Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said that paying for priority access would be similar to enrolling in TSA Precheck.

“In real life, all sorts of interactions are prioritized every day,” Blackburn said in her opening statement at a subcommittee hearing on paid prioritization.

First, this is the exact opposite of what “net neutrality” means.

Secondly … I forgot what I was going to write and now my desk is covered in my own hair that I’ve pulled out.

Let’s see what she said:

Many of you sitting in this room right now paid a line-sitter to get priority access to this hearing. In fact, it is commonplace for the government itself to offer priority access to services. If you have ever used Priority Mail, you know this to be the case. And what about TSA Precheck? It just might have saved you time as you traveled here today. If you define paid prioritization as simply the act of paying to get your own content in front of the consumer faster, prioritized ads or sponsored content are the basis of many business models online, as many of our members pointed out at the Facebook hearing last week.

Blackburn is currently the chair of the House Communications and Technology subcommittee, so she has some authority when it comes to Internet legislation. However, she’s running for Bob Corker’s Senate seat here in TN, so that could change.

Personally, I can’t wait to vote for her opponent.

Tim Cook, on Merging Device Lines »

Apple’s CEO, in an interview with Peter Wells for The Sydney Morning Herald, when asked about the difference between the Mac and iOS:

We don’t believe in sort of watering down one for the other. Both [The Mac and iPad] are incredible. One of the reasons that both of them are incredible is because we pushed them to do what they do well. And if you begin to merge the two … you begin to make trade offs and compromises.

So maybe the company would be more efficient at the end of the day. But that’s not what it’s about. You know it’s about giving people things that they can then use to help them change the world or express their passion or express their creativity. So this merger thing that some folks are fixated on, I don’t think that’s what users want.

I’ll level with you; I often struggle with knowing how to read these sorts of Tim Cook quotes. Both the Mac and iPad have their own strengths and weaknesses, and merging them would create a different set of strengths and weaknesses, but that doesn’t mean the devices have to remain as separated as they are now.

I don’t think this takes things like Project Marizpan off the table, or even ARM Macs. Macs and iOS devices could run the same apps on the same processors, but retain their own form factors and operating systems.

Amazon Has 100 Million Prime Members »

Jeff Bezos:

13 years post-launch, we have exceeded 100 million paid Prime members globally. In 2017 Amazon shipped more than five billion items with Prime worldwide, and more new members joined Prime than in any previous year — both worldwide and in the U.S. Members in the U.S. now receive unlimited free two-day shipping on over 100 million different items.


Connected #189: Nah, Hummus! »

This week on Connected:

Stephen and Myke are still recovering from a trip to Atlanta, and it shows in this discussion of the future of iOS and digital magazines. Federico thankfully saves the episode by sharing some about Drafts 5.

My thanks to our sponsors for this goofy episode:

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Kbase Article of the Week: Power Macintosh G3 (Blue and White): How to Differentiate From Other Power Macintosh G3 Models 

In the wake of the recent Mac Pro news, I know a lot of people want Apple to “just ship a tower,” but it seems that at least some point, Apple didn’t like that word:

Before January of 1999, there were three Power Macintosh G3 form factors useful for visual identification; Desktop, Minitower, and All-in-one. At the MacWorld Exposition in January, 1999, Apple introduced a Power Macintosh G3 model which does not fit into any of the previous categories.

While it is a tower design, Apple has elected not to refer to it as such. For the purpose of identification, Knowledge Base articles will refer to this design by its colors (blue and white) rather than form factor.

“Apple has elected not to refer to it as such” is the most amazing phrase in the kbase, period.

Serenity Caldwell’s Amazing 9.7-inch iPad Review »

Serenity Caldwell, writing at iMore:

It’s no secret to say that the iPad has changed how I work and think on my devices. I use it for work, roller derby, casual sketching and idea generation, watching movies, and so much more. And it’s why I’ve continually been bullish on the device, even when sales lagged and great multitasking was but a rumor on the road map.

To me, the 2018 base-model 9.7-inch iPad is a special beast: It hits a line drive right through the company’s fabled intersection of technology and liberal arts — and at the right price point. The iPad Pro did it first, but at a cost unattainable for all but the tinkerers and serious artists, and without iOS 11’s crucial multitasking features. At $329, the iPad offers a low-end tablet experience unlike any other on the market. Add an extra $99 for Apple Pencil, and Apple has created the best device for all-purpose education, period.

Her review takes the form of this fantastic video:

I love every second of this. It’s clear that Serenity is excited about the potential of this iPad, and I think it really shows in the video.