WTF Weekly for July 8, 2019
Hit me up on Twitter to yell at me about typos or just to comment on anything I’ve included here.
WTF Weekly is something I do for fun and to keep me writing when I’m failing to otherwise. It’s actually provided me with minimal writing opportunity, however, since I link to several articles each time and usually provide very little commentary.
So starting today, I am going to link to fewer items in WTF Weekly and write more about each of them. This may sound great to you if you already have more than enough links and “read later” items in your life, or it may sound like utter hell if my opinions aren’t what you’re here for.
I guess we’ll find out. 😄
Two sides of the same coin:
I know, I know. I’m tired of hearing about Jony Ive too. But that’s mostly because most people are talking about it in very black and white terms depending on whether they want to believe Apple is doomed without him, or whether they want to believe everything wrong with Apple is Jony Ive’s fault and it’s a relief that he’s leaving.
What I’m more interested in than the event itself is dispelling the simple-mindedness that pervades so much of Apple-related commentary these days.[^Let’s face it, it’s really the simple-minded, click-bait approach to writing almost all writers on every subject employ on the internet in recent years.]
Like anything interesting in life, Jony Ive’s legacy is more complicated than a simple black and white narrative. There is no doubt that he has been key to several major Apple success stories that either saved the company (iMac) or allowed it to grow into the behemoth it is today (iPhone). Also true is the fact that his design sensibilities have at times led to less well-rounded or useful products, and certainly that applies to his takeover of the iOS UI with iOS 7.
Personally I think that Jony Ive without Steve Jobs is a less compelling situation for Apple than Jony with Steve. I don’t know (and probably no one knows) the exact nature of their interactions and who acted as whose reality check most often, but I think post-Steve Apple has proven that sometimes Ive’s design sensibilities need pushback in terms of final products for actual customers.
The reality of the situation is we won’t know for awhile what the long term effect of Jony Ive leaving Apple is. My belief is it’ll be less detrimental to modern Apple than some people think, while at the same time I acknowledge how important Jony Ive has been to Apple’s success (unlike some other people).
As the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing nears, a lot of great stories about the mission, the people, and the technology involved are being written. It’s common now for people to joke about how each one of us has more computing power in our pockets than we sent men to the moon with in 1969, but in fact the Apollo command and lunar module computers were advanced for their day and led directly to integrated circuits becoming ubiquitous today.
Without knowing it, the world was witnessing the birth of “Moore’s Law,” the driving idea of the computer world that the capability of computer chips would double every two years, even as the cost came down.
In fact, Fairchild Semiconductor’s Gordon Moore wrote the paper outlining Moore’s Law in 1965, when NASA had been the No. 1 buyer of computer chips in the world for four years, and the only user of integrated circuits that Moore cites by name in that paper is “Apollo, for manned Moon flight.” Moore would go on to cofound and lead Intel, and help drive the digital revolution into all elements of society.
It’s true that the computing revolution would have happened anyway, but as Fishman notes:
Sure, we’d have iPhones if we hadn’t flown to the Moon, and word processors, and Jeff Bezos probably would have founded Amazon.com.
But just because something would have happened anyway doesn’t mean you take credit from those who drove it. Apollo dramatically accelerated the pace of the digital revolution by transforming the technology at the heart of it: the integrated circuit.
This is not a new article, but it is one that I came across just today.
Most of us living on the west coast undoubtedly remember last winter’s horrific wildfire that destroyed Paradise, CA. 88 dead, hundreds missing, a little Northern California town lost. Matt Simon brings us the science behind why this fire was so devastating, and it’s not good news for the future:
This is what a climate change reckoning looks like. “All of it is embedded in the background trend of things getting warmer,” Lareau says. “The atmosphere as it gets warmer is thirstier.” Like a giant atmospheric mosquito, climate change is sucking California dry.
I worry about a lot of things I can’t control, and frankly, climate change is high up on that list. Fire, famine, uncontrollable disease, and mass-extinction events are all on the list of things happening or that will happen in our near future. I don’t think even now people are taking this seriously enough.
Frankly, if it was just me, I wouldn’t care that much. I’ve had my time and I don’t really care about traditional sunset years like so many other Americans. But I, like millions or billions of others, do have a child whose future is still ahead of them, and the belief that we’ve selfishly stolen her future and the future of all of our children is really saddening.
Finally, here’s one I truly do not understand:
A game that was originally for a non-iOS device, brought to the iOS App Store to celebrate that store’s 10 year anniversary… which was one year ago. Say what?
I don’t make ‘em up, people. I’m just a lowly commenter on the bizarre reality others have wrought.