KSTP’s Ridiculous Story – An Open Letter to KSTP News Director Lindsay Radford re: #pointergate

Below you will find the text of an email I sent to Lindsay Redford, the news director at KSTP (link to her bio). If you find this story as outlandish and irresponsible as I do, I’d encourage you to email her as well. Her email address is lradford@kstp.com. If you discuss this on twitter, use the hashtag #pointergate.

Dear Ms. Redford,
This story, by Jay Kolls, should be an embarrassment to your station. For god’s sake, Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges is simply pointing her finger, just like she’s doing in this photo:
Mayor Betsy Hodges Points
There is zero evidence that she’s “flash[ing] a gang sign”, and anyone with any common sense would realize that it is, quite frankly, stupid to jump to that conclusion. Have you watched the video of Navell Gordon, mayor Hodges, and other volunteers that is embedded in Shaun King’s excellent article on this? If not, I highly recommend that you do.
This kind of irresponsible “reporting” is shameful, and would be funny if it weren’t so damaging. Jay Kolls should be fired for such incompetence, and at the very least your station should issue an apology.
Park Silkenson

An open letter to Gary Zenkel

I have not been watching the Olympics. My wife and kids are out of town and I’ve been the only one in my house since July 25 — and I’ve barely even turned on the television. I have, however, used my iPad extensively to watch movies and television shows. If I was able to use the NBC iOS apps to watch the Olympics, I would, but they ridiculously require a cable subscription to login. I do have an antenna that brings the NBC network into my home, but it is less convenient (for me) to watch that way, and I’m opposed to the delay NBC is imposing on events.

So, I’ve sent the following email to Gary Zenkel, the NBC executive in charge of the 2012 Summer Olympics.


I’m sure you’ve been getting tons of email of late, but I just want to add my voice to the growing number of people that are utterly dissatisfied with and appalled by the way NBC has handled this year’s Olympic coverage.
  1. Not airing events live is inexcusable. If a popular event takes place at an inconvenient time for NBC’s advertisers, feel free to rebroadcast the event during primetime if you want, but in an age of Twitter, Facebook, and internet real-time updates, NBC should be airing the events as they happen.
  2. Requiring a cable subscription login for you iOS apps is ridiculous and insulting. I don’t have cable, and therefore cannot use the apps. I do have an antenna and a television, so I could watch the previously-mentioned crappy experience provided by NBC, but I choose not to and you lost a viewer of your network.
I hope the backlash you’ve felt this year will spur NBC to evaluate it’s priorities and make changes that will respect your network’s viewers, as opposed to corporate advertisers.

Gary’s email is gary.zenkel@nbcuni.com, and if you feel the same, I’d recommend sending him an email, too.

WWDC 2012 internet-blackout mode

I get how so many people want to know what Apple will announce as soon as possible, but for me, I ‘d much rather wait until later tonight when they release the full video of today’s keynote. I’ve waited this long, so a few more hours won’t bother me. And I find it much more satisfying to watch the video than to watch the liveblogs full of comments by the bloggers and their photos of the event.

The downside for me is that, if I really want to be surprised by the announcements when I watch the keynote (and I do), I have to go into internet-blackout mode starting at 10a PDT, and that kinda sucks. So no Twitter or sites that cover Apple until I’ve watched the keynote.

Wall Street Journal claims Apple has announced that they’ll begin providing data service to iPhones and iPads

Wall Street Journal site marketwatch.com claimed today that “Apple Announces Plans to Offer Wireless Service Directly to iPhone and iPad Users“.

The problem with this “press release” is that Apple made no such announcement.

Bad writing by iFixit.com blog spurs even worse posts on TUAW.com and TiPb.com about iPhone 4S proximity sensor and Siri

On November 9, iFixit.com posted a blog entry about the proximity sensor on the iPhone 4S. They begin by saying:

During our iPhone 4S teardown, iFixit buddy Markus noted that the new iPhone had a rather unusual-looking black component next to the ambient light sensor. We didn’t make much of a fuss about it since we were knee-deep in disassembly pictures, but the little black box certainly piqued our curiosity.

They later explain that the “unusual-looking black component” was the infrared LED proximity sensor—a sensor that’s on every iPhone, not just the 4S. The post goes on to explain that the proximity sensor on an iPhone 4S comes on whenever the screen is on, if you have Siri set to activate whenever you hold the phone to your face. The proximity sensors in all other iPhones only come on during an active call (or a Skype, Viber, Tango, etc. call).

My question is: Why were the people at iFixit so mystified by the iPhone 4S proximity sensor? These people are iPhone hardware experts, it’s not a new feature, and it’s in the same general (if not exact) location as on all other iPhones. During iFixit’s teardown report, they only mention a singular “infra-red LED proximity sensor” in Step 14 of page 2.

Then for some reason (my guess is lazy reporting and a desire for page views), both TUAW.com and TiPb.com write posts claiming that iFixit has revealed that the iPhone 4S has a secondary proximity sensor for Siri (TUAW link, TiPb link). No, iFixit feigned confusion (in my opinion) about the proximity sensor hardware to add dramatic effect to their post about how Siri uses the proximity sensor.

Laziness all around.

Photovine shutting down

As of March 6, 2012, Photovine will be shutting down. They say the app won’t be supported after that, but whether it will remain functional is not clear.

Mail.app in Mac OS X Lion STILL does not show sent messages in the threaded view

I’m still digging into the details and new features of Mac OS X Lion, but so far I’ve come across one complete disappointment: Mail.app STILL does not include your sent messages in the threaded view. I don’t understand why all email programs, both web apps and native apps, haven’t incorporated this feature that GMail has had for years.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

The fourth Mission Impossible movie comes out this December. It looks much better than the last two.

Nokia N9 and MeeGo look great

Engadget has a hands-on with the N9 which runs MeeGo 1.2—and the OS looks amazing. If it really is as responsive as it looks in the videos, I wonder why Nokia decided to kill it and use Windows Phone 7 instead.

The hardware, too, looks great. They’ve done something I wish Apple would do, which is to favor function over form. The iPhone 4’s glass back and hard edges look good, but make the phone less durable and less comfortable to hold and press against your ear. Contrast that with the N9’s unibody polycarbonate shell, which looks to be lighter, more durable, and more comfortable to use.

Final Cut Pro X criticism

Project management in FCP X

A detailed and specific criticism of the new Final Cut Pro. Quite funny, too.