Peter Kafka and Kara Swisher, at All Things D:
But it’s not the first time Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has been interested in the New York-based hipster blogging service. As an executive at Google, she had closely watched its fast growth, along with that of Foursquare. Since she took over at Yahoo, several sources said that she has met with its top execs, including founder and CEO David Karp.
What I find surprising about this is that Tumblr would seriously consider a sell out. And I guess that’s only because I assumed Karp wanted the same thing Twitter wants: to build a billion dollar media company.
If it’s true and if the deal happens, I hope Mayer fires the Tumblr management and hands the whole thing over to the Flickr folks. Flickr at least knows how to a) foster a community and b) charge for a product.
I wanted to make one other point about that article in Wired that inspired John Gruber’s web vs. native post. Let’s take another look at Marc Andreessen’s “thought exercise”:
Let’s say we all grew up in tech world where we only used tablets and smartphones. Then one day, someone comes up to you with a 27-inch display hooked up to a notebook. You could have everything you have on your tablets and smartphones, and then some. Except you don’t have to download anything or update it. Everything is the latest and greatest, and just one click away. If you are a software developer, there are no gatekeepers telling you if your latest creation is approved, or when you can add the latest flourish.
“We would be like, wow, that’s great,” Andreessen says from his office at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
Thing is, we have that now. It’s called a Chromebook, and nobody’s using them.
Love this post by Gruber on web vs. native apps:
Facebook, bless them, has it right. What’s great about the web is ubiquitous network availability, not running within a browser tab. Websites are just services, and what you see in a browser tab is merely one possible interface to that service. The best possible interface to that service is often, if not usually, going to be a native app, not a web app.
I hadn’t planned to write about Pelican again so soon, but 3.2 came out this past week, with a nice set of changes. I’ve installed it, and while I’m mostly happy with it, I’ve found a problem for my site.
I hesitate to call this a bug, because I imagine it’s working as the developers intend. It just breaks something non-standard that I am doing. For the dates on articles, I use the following as my default date format:
DEFAULT_DATE_FORMAT = '%A, %B %e, %Y'
When I first installed 3.2, that was interpreted like so:
I Googled around to figure out what was going on, and came across this post by Dr. Drang. As he explains, ‘%e’—which I use to get the day without a leading zero—is a format code that is not supported on all platforms. But Python’s strftime just calls the system strftime, so why would it stop working?
So I dug into the Pelican code. It appears1 they’ve written a wrapper for strftime that skips over non-standard format codes. I have to assume this is for compatibility with Python 3.
At this point I had a choice: Accept dates with leading zeroes, or write some kind of workaround for Pelican’s strftime workaround.
I think you know what I did.
It was actually pretty easy. I just wrote a plugin that replaces the value of Article.locale_date with a call to the built-in strftime. And since I know ‘%e’ is supported on all the platforms I use, it’s portable enough for me. You can find it (and all my Pelican-related code) on GitHub.
I’m pretty new to Python, so keep that in mind. ↩
Well, hell. I’ve been working on a post about WWDC and how developers want to change it. Then I get back from lunch to find Jeff LaMarche has written that post, AND he wrote it better than I would have, AND he has better suggestions for improving WWDC than I have.
Ah, but the joke’s on you Jeff. I had a lovely lunch.
Anyway, I’m not even going to quote anything from it, just go read the whole thing. He details exactly why expanding WWDC is much harder than most people realize.
Brad Stone at Bloomberg with the scoop on Amazon’s set-top box:
Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), the world’s largest online retailer, plans to release a television set-top box that would stream video over the Internet into customers’ homes, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The device, due later this year, will connect to televisions, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak publicly about it. It will also provide access to Amazon’s expanding video services, which include the Amazon Video on Demand store.
“Reed said to me one day, ‘I want to be able to call Steve Jobs and talk to him about putting Netflix on Apple TV,’” recalls one high-level source. “‘But if I’m making my own hardware, Steve’s not going to take my call.’”
To the surprise of most employees at the company, Hastings decided to kill The Netflix Player, and spin the team out as a separate company. His decision, made almost exactly five years ago this month, was one of the riskiest moves in Netflix’s history. But it also proved to be one of Hastings’ most prescient. By shelving its hardware and remaining an agnostic platform, Netflix was able to transform itself into a digital powerhouse and become the dominant player in subscription streaming video.
I don’t make these comparison to suggest either approach is “correct” or “winning”. I just think the difference is interesting.
It took me a while to “get” Drafts, but once I did I was hooked. Some day I’ll write up how I use it for publishing here. It has become a key part of my iOS workflow.
Version 3, released today, is a great update. If you haven’t tried it check out the review on MacStories to see how powerful it is.
Nick Wingfield at The New York Times on why investors are not happy with Steve Ballmer or Tim Cook:
Of course, the real reason both Microsoft and, more recently, Apple, have become sources of investor disgruntlement have little to do with how profits and revenue have fared in the past. In Microsoft’s case, the list of Wall Street’s grievances includes the billions of dollars the company has lost seeking to compete with Google in search, multiple missed opportunities in the mobile market and worries that Microsoft’s longtime profit engines will run out of gas.
In Apple’s case, the concerns are different. In January, Apple warned Wall Street that it expected its profit to decline about 20 percent during its fiscal second quarter, results for which the company will report on Tuesday. Slowing sales, a shift to products like the iPad Mini with lower profit margins, and a lull, whether real or perceived, in breakthrough new products are all weighing heavily on Apple’s shares.
It’s a fair comparison, though I’d argue that Tim Cook’s “problems” are just misguided expectations, while Ballmer’s were actual failures on his part. But whatever you think of either CEO, it’s hard to argue with growing profits.
Related to the previous, Jamie Kelly has a look at the difficulties of covering breaking news:
Breaking news is by turns terrifying, exhilarating, stressful and extraordinary boring. There are large stretches of time when you don’t know anything new. That’s OK, unless you’re running a 24-hour news feed. Then you have to find something to fill the time. And too often it’s either baseless speculation or just plain bad information.
And the alternative is not sticking with the story and having people flip over to your channel and wonder why you’re not covering it.
Read Jamie’s whole post, because he has some terrific insights into why social media makes breaking news particularly difficult, and how journalists (and consumers) can do better.