Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Q&A: Tony Kushner - Theater - Time Out New York:

Q: How do you divide your time between theater and your work in movies and TV?

A: I make my living now as a screenwriter! Which I’m surprised and horrified to find myself saying, but I don’t think I can support myself as a playwright at this point. I don’t think anybody does. I’m going to start work on developing a series for HBO, because I’m naturally given to episodic stories of considerable length. And I won’t have to listen to complaints about how wordy and long my work is if you can watch it on your telephone on the subway: You can make it conform to your day as if it were a book. For people who write in long form, like me, that’s of serious interest, and I think we haven’t really taken that in yet. In a way, film and television are in the same sort of traumatic trance that print journalism is. The technology has outpaced our comprehension of its implications.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Conclusive Evidence:

It is not really so much The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, after all. It is the agony and the ecstasy of Mike Daisey, balancing a thirty-year love affair with Apple computers against the blood, as he puts it, of the Chinese people which he imagines welling up from the keyboard of a MacBook Pro. Against the tyranny of a company who says "here is this beautiful shiny new thing that you must have" with one hand and gives you a swift "FUCK YOU!" with the other. He gets this basic human emotion we all feel: our reckless need for things we know, deep down, that we don't actually need.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Explosion at Apple Supplier Caused by Dust, China Says - NYTimes.com:

Some labor rights activists say Foxconn’s working conditions are poor and that Apple and Foxconn have failed to address complaints by workers.

On Monday, a Hong Kong-based labor rights group called Students and & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior said that it had noted a problem with “aluminum dust” in Foxconn’s Chengdu plant last March, when it issued a report on the company’s working conditions there.

The group said workers at the Chengdu factory had complained this year that “the ventilation of the department is poor. Workers polish the iPad cases to make them shiny. In the process, there is lots of aluminum dust floating in the air. Workers always breathe in aluminum dust even though they put on masks. When workers take off their cotton gloves, their hands are covered with aluminum dust.”

After the statement was released by the group, Foxconn issued its own statement saying it was “unfortunate” that the Hong Kong group was seeking to “capitalize on the tragic accident” with a statement that misrepresented “Foxconn’s commitment to the health and safety of our employees.”

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Crazy Rich Businessman Enacts Metaphor For America - Gawker:

Virginia restaurateur Henry Allen Fitzsimmons has hit upon a welfare plan the GOP can get behind: He sought out vulnerable young women who needed help and gave them money for education and childcare. All he asked in return was that they submit to being spanked, by him, on demand.

Fitzsimmons, who owns a Virginia Beach bar and grill called Envy, has been accused by six women of sexual assault and abduction in connection with what he calls the Spencer Scholarship Plan.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

MacNN | Amazon selling more Kindle books than all paper combined:

Amazon marked a historic event for itself on Thursday after revealing that Kindle e-books were now outselling all forms of print combined. The switch came just four months after digital overtook paperback and less than a year after they began outselling hardcovers. Since the start of April, Amazon has been moving 105 paid Kindle books for every 100 paper title and would be higher if it included public domain books.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Heart Sea Monkeys: The Agony and Ecstasy of Stalinism Meeting Mindless Consumerism:

Daisey succinctly ties these two philosophies together in his play. China wanted to "modernize" and the US wanted dirt-cheap labor, devoid of real unions, to manufacture all the toys and gizmos Americans have been told endlessly that we are "entitled" to as free Capitalists so long as we can afford them. The mindless consumerism of the West has met the (faux) tireless Communist worker at the nadir of Orwellian dystopia in Shenzhen. It's the place where dreams of the future go to die.
Apple Further Restricts Upgrade Options on New iMacs | Other World Computing Blog:

For the main 3.5″ SATA hard drive bay in the new 2011 machines, Apple has altered the SATA power connector itself from a standard 4-wire power configuration to a 7-wire configuration. Hard drive temperature control is regulated by a combination of this cable and Apple proprietary firmware on the hard drive itself. From our testing, we’ve found that removing this drive from the system, or even from that bay itself, causes the machine’s hard drive fans to spin at maximum speed and replacing the drive with any non-Apple original drive will result in the iMac failing the Apple Hardware Test (AHT).

In examining the 2011 27″ iMac’s viability for our Turnkey Upgrade Service, every workaround we’ve tried thus far to allow us to upgrade the main bay factory hard drive still resulted in spinning fans and an Apple Hardware Test failure. We swapped the main drive out (in this case a Western Digital Black WD1001FALS) with the exact same model drive from our inventory which resulted in a failure. We’ve installed our Mercury Pro 6G SSD in that bay, it too results in ludicrous speed engaged fans and an AHT failure. In short, the Apple-branded main hard drive cannot be moved, removed or replaced.

It really begins to raise questions:
Is this planned obsolescence at work, or is the freedom promised in 1984 being revoked?

The Washington Monthly - The Magazine - The Information Sage:

Edward Tufte occupies a revered and solitary place in the world of graphic design. Over the last three decades, he has become a kind of oracle in the growing field of data visualization—the practice of taking the sprawling, messy universe of information that makes up the quantitative backbone of everyday life and turning it into an understandable story. His four books on the subject have sold almost two million copies, and in his crusade against euphemism and gloss, he casts a shadow over the world of graphs and charts similar to the specter of George Orwell over essay and argument.

Tufte is a philosopher king who reigns over his field largely because he invented it. For years, graphic designers were regarded as decorators, whose primary job was to dress up facts with pretty pictures. Tufte introduced a reverence for math and science to the discipline and, in turn, codified the rules that would create a new one, which has come to be called, alternatively, information design or analytical design. His is often the authoritative word on what makes a good chart or graph, and over the years his influence has changed the way places like the Wall Street Journal and NASA display data.

In policy circles, he has exerted a quiet but profound influence on those seeking to harness the terabytes of data flowing out of government offices. In recent years, several large American cities, including New York, Oakland, and Washington, D.C., have opened up entire universes of municipal statistics, giving birth to a cottage industry of programs and applications that chart everything from the best commuting routes to block-by-block crime patterns. And under the Obama administration’s Open Government Directive of 2009, the federal government has been releasing scores of downloadable data sets. In the public realm, data has never been more ubiquitous—or more valuable to those who know how to use it. “If you display information the right way, anybody can be an analyst,” Tufte once told me. “Anybody can be an investigator.”


Friday, May 13, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Q&A: Mark Rylance, Actor | The Economist:

I met a wonderful jazz musician when we’re doing “Boeing-Boeing". He was clearly brilliant, and I said to him ‘Where can I get a recording of yours?’ And he said, ‘Nowhere.’ I said, ‘What do you mean? Are they not available anymore?’ And he said, ‘No, why would I want to make a recording?’ I said, “I don’t know, maybe you like people who aren’t able to be there to hear your music?’ ‘Why,’ he said, ‘I won’t be there when they’re listening to it. Why would I want anyone to listen to a recorded piece of music rather than play something so they can listen themselves.’ He literally never made any recordings; he only was interested in the live, present moment. And the more I thought about what he said, the more I thought, ‘yeah, I really agree—that’s what's most exciting to me: the live, present moment, with a group of actors and an audience and the curious communication that goes on.
IMG_3428 - Side Light 2

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Justin Bond Is Living » News:

For the record my “ambition” is not “to be both sexes at once.” I AM both sexes at once. My ambition is to articulate who I am clearly and effectively. I am not a woman and I am not a man, I am not a “cross-dresser”. I am a transperson. To me that seems pretty clear. To question or belabor it is completely unnecessary and transphobic. As is the phrase, “certainly he’s never been a conventional transvestite showboat”. Even if I was one it would be okay and these implied hierarchies of acceptable “trans-ness” are innately offensive. “He has too much inner life to be anything like a standard drag queen.” Just because I am not a “Drag Queen” doesn’t make my life or work any more or less important than if I was. What are Mr. Swanson’s assumptions about the inner lives of drag queens? I know this is said quite often but as far as I’m concerned it can’t be said enough. If it weren’t for certain drag queens and other gender variant individuals lots of gay white middle-class asses would be lots less comfortable and the landscapes of their “inner lives”‘ might be even more dim.

He used the word “preposterous” as a way of editorializing my childhood notion that I was transgendered and went on to state that my upcoming book, Tango: My Childhood Backwards and in High Heels is about “the necessity of inventing who you are.” No one invents who they are. That’s like saying a person chooses to be gay or trans. There is a difference between inventing who you are and accepting who you are. Accepting who you are, nurturing who you are and having the courage to put yourself out into the world as openly and honestly as you can is not an act of invention. It’s called living.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Meet the workers dying to meet your iPad 2 demand:

Conditions at Foxconn's two Chengdu factories, which exclusively produce Apple iPads, were among the worst reported. While nets have been installed to catch suicidal workers, factory staff are reportedly required to sign "no-suicide" pacts which also give licence to Foxconn to institutionalise them if it sees fit.

Workers at Chengdu say they are routinely humiliated and scolded by management. One was forced to stand in a corner with his hands behind his back because he giggled with a colleague. Others have been required to write confession letters to their supervisors after making mistakes and in some cases read the letters out in front of colleagues.

"Some of my roommates weep in the dormitory. I want to cry as well but my tears have not come out," said 19-year-old Chengdu worker Chen Liming.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Motorola Xoom:

If you know how to use an Android phone... you won't have any idea how to use a Motorola Xoom.

One example: One of the great things about the Android 2.x operating system for mobile phones is the consistent interface, more consistent than on iPhones and iPads. With Android 2.x, you can count on four buttons being available at all times and always in the same place: menu, home, back, and search. That was such a great idea... that they threw it out with Android 3.0 and the Xoom. Reading a book with the book reader app? The menu button is nowhere to be found. Touch in the upper right area of the screen and the page turns. Except that if you first touch in the middle of a page, a "menu" icon shows up in the upper right area of the screen and touching there then brings up a menu rather than turning the page.

This is the point where I stopped testing out the Xoom. It costs more than an iPad. It works less well than any of the Android phones that I've tried.

Is Apple more popular than baseball? - Apple 2.0 - Fortune Tech:

Could it be that Apple is more popular than America's national sport?

The company is certainly more profitable than professional baseball. Apple's revenue for fiscal year 2010 was $65.2 billion, $9.8 billion from the Apple stores alone, compared with the MLB's total revenue of $7 billion.

And as the chart above shows, visitors to the Apple stores -- which will celebrate their 10th anniversary next week -- overtook attendance at Major League Baseball stadiums in 2006 and never looked back.

Saturday, May 07, 2011


David Fink

We're a month or two away from the release of a new version of OS X; leaks from those privy to preview editions say Rosetta is not in the preview; many Mac users say Rosetta is critical to their work; Apple won't say a word about whether Rosetta will or will not be in the new OS; and Steve Jobs answers an email from one individual, confirming Rosetta is gone. No official notice from Apple, just an email to one individual. What a crazy way to run a business!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Foxconn Employees Forced To Sign ‘No Suicide’ Pledge: Report | Epicenter | Wired.com:

Labor group Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) went to the facility and interviewed more than a hundred employees in March and April 2011, to survey the current working conditions. The report found staff working overtime that exceeded the legal limit, endless back-to-back shifts and dormitories that feel like prison blocks.

Labor laws in China dictate that overtime should not exceed 36 hours per month. The report says that workers are usually subjected to 50 to 80 hours of overtime a month. In the Chengdu facility — where Foxconn employees put together the iPad — staff could expect a grueling 80 to 100 hours of overtime, on top of the 174 regular work hours.

Staff members interviewed said that working overtime was voluntary, but making up the extra hours was necessary to earn a regular salary.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Were humans harmed in the making of your shiny gadget? | Lucy Siegle | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk:

It has to be said that we don't help ourselves as consumers. Sometimes, the aesthetics and cool of a product eclipse the ethics so thoroughly that we are pathetically seduced.

As you probably suspect, I'm typing this on a MacBook Air. US writer Wendell Berry says: "The global economy institutionalises a global ignorance, in which producers and consumers cannot know or care about one another, and in which the histories of all products will be lost. In such a circumstance, the degradation of products and places, producers and consumers is inevitable." Yes, these products make hypocrites of us all.