Archive: October, 2010

Recommended reading: October edition

This month: Obama 2.0, Apple’s culture of innovation, the rise of Nick Denton, and iPad user interfaces.

Education of a President
New York Times Magazine

Though Obama clearly electrified the American public back in his 2008 election run, since taking office the press have often portrayed him as a more enigmatic figure. It’s become something of a journalistic clich? to portray the “real” Obama as a cool, cerebral and inward focused president. That’s precisely why Peter Baker’s New York Times Magazine profile of Obama is especially fascinating; Baker reveals a lot of nuggets on Obama’s steps ahead (“Obama 2.0”) and little insights of Obama’s day to day (basketball trash talking, bewilderment at today’s polarized cable TV climate.) Required reading for almost anyone with even a vague interest in U.S. politics.

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A Danish film primer: three films, three genres

Danish film can be a hard starter for many; mainstream moviegoers harp on the usual “downsides” applicable to foreign film: subtitles, unorthodox plotting, and no recognizable stars. Even art house veterans can find it hard to dissociate Denmark’s output from the well known (infamous?) director Lars von Trier, who’s films run cold, experimental and arguably misanthropic.

There’s more out there. What follows are three very different Danish films in three varied genres, all personal favorites of mine and a starting point for learning more about what Danish (or for some, just plain foreign) cinema has to offer.

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The dearth of iPad app innovation

There’s something paradoxical about the current state of the iPad that I find both thrilling and disturbing. On one hand, the iPad is clearly a commercial success: Sales are very high and the device has been almost universally praised by the tech press for its hardware. Yet what about the software? While the iPad app market has increased exponentially, I find the often conservative design and nature of what’s out there a bit disheartening.

Too many purchases are simply an upscaled version of an existing iPhone app with the surface area quadrupled, an “HD” slapped on the title and a doubling (or more) of the price. The UI can often be slower, more cumbersome and at times flat out boring compared to a similar iPhone counterpart.

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