The Rise of Tablets and Other Fascinating News on the Web

January 16, 2014

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  1. Tablets Rule

    “Everyone who jammed into the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco on January 27, 2010, knew what they were there for: Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ introduction of a thin, always-on tablet device that would let people browse the Web, read books, send email, watch movies, and play games.” That’s how Wired’s Steven Levy began a piece called: How the Tablet Will Change the World. I doubt Levy (or even Jobs) could have predicted the rapid rise of the tablet computer. Consider the latest numbers from Pew: An amazing 42% of American adults already own a tablet.

    + The day the iPad came out, I felt like I was cheating on my laptop. And I wrote this post: I Kissed an iPad and I Liked It.

    + E-reader use has soared, but most people have not completely abandoned print.

  2. Smartphones vs. Users

    According to WaPo’s Michael S. Rosenwald, smartphones are getting more sophisticated, but their owners are not. “Smartphones are confounding and intimidating, and they often wind up just using the phones as expensive cameras that can make calls — if they don’t hide the phone icon by accident.” (Basically, all you need is the phone, the camera, and the NextDraft app).

    + Maybe some people don’t learn to use all the features on their phone because they are too busy listening to streaming music. (Related: Can Beats Music challenge Spotify and Pandora?)

    + Phones and tablets are changing nearly every industry. Last quarter, 9% of Bank of America’s check transactions were conducted via mobile devices, causing the bank to rethink its brick-and-mortar branches. (Banks might also want to rethink the Windows XP software they use in their ATMs.)

    + The FTC has ordered Apple to pay “$32.5 million in refunds to parents who didn’t authorize hefty purchases racked up by their children on their iPhones and iPads.” Hopefully they’ll also reimburse the purchases I made when I was acting like a child.

  3. The Oscar Machine

    Maybe the “O” in director David O. Russell’s name stands for Oscar. He is an academy award nomination machine. His movie American Hustle was nominated for Best Picture and got nods in all four acting categories. The same thing happened last year when he directed Silver Linings Playbook. And in 2010, his movie The Fighter “nabbed seven nominations, including picture and director as well as Oscar wins for Christian Bale and Melissa Leo.)”

    + Speaking of Oscar nomination machines, Meryl Streep and John Williams both got nominated again this year. That brings her total to 18, and his to 49.

    + Here’s a look at the complete list of this year’s Oscar nominations. (American Hustle and Gravity lead the pack with ten nominations a piece.)

    + The Hollywood Reporter: Who was snubbed?

    + The Wire: What are we angriest about this Oscar nomination morning?

  4. Quiet Time

    “In years past, these students were largely out of control, frequently fighting in the corridors, scrawling graffiti on the walls and cursing their teachers. Absenteeism rates were among the city’s highest and so were suspensions. Worn-down teachers routinely called in sick.” But in the last few years, everything has changed at Visitacion Valley Middle School in San Francisco. The difference? Meditation.

    + The Atlantic: A Philadelphia school’s big bet on nonviolence. “The police department told us flat out, ‘You’re foolish, and you’ll regret it.'”

  5. Life is Like a Box of Dopamine

    If you’ve ever wondered how sugar affects the brain (or why it’s tough to get your kids to eat their broccoli), check out this interesting (short) video from neuroscientist Nicola Avena.

    + “Lisa Tremblay still recalls in horror the time her daughter Kristin pulled a hot dog crawling with ants from the garbage at a cookout and prepared to swallow it.” The NYT on a rare disorder that makes one uncontrollably hungry.

    + The dark side of the truffle trade.

  6. A Driving Force

    Want to witness an example of an old school industry being wildly disrupted at a breakneck pace? Check out the streets of San Francisco where “one-third of the 8,500 or so taxi drivers in San Francisco … have ditched driving a registered cab in the last 12 months to drive for a private transportation startup like Uber, Lyft, or Sidecar.”

  7. The Ethics of Football

    Here’s an article I’ve bookmarked, but probably won’t actually read until after Sunday’s 49er-Seahawks game: The Questionable Ethics of Teaching My Son to Love Pro Football.

    + The Dodgers (in addition to sucking) just signed pitcher Clayton Kershaw to a new contract worth $215 million. That’s the kind of money usually reserved for people who invent thermostats.

  8. Search Party

    The Atlantic attempts to teach you how to spot a narcissist online. It’s like finding hay in a haystack.

  9. Follow the Money

    Want to end up in the state making the fastest climb up the millionaire rankings? You might be surprised to find yourself in North Dakota. Across the country in 2013, there were 53,000 more millionaires households than during the previous year.

  10. The Bottom of the News

    So the news came out about Google buying a thermostat company and investors raced to buy stock in Nest Labs. Only Nest isn’t a publicly traded stock.

    + You’re on the Internet. So chances are, you’ll dig this InFocus collection of photos of animals in the news.

    + Can you differentiate between an actual ridiculous link bait headline and a fake one? Test your skills at Headlines Against Humanity.