» ‘Cliché: open-source is secure’

Robert Graham tackles the myth of open source’s inherent security advantage, one I’ve railed against before:

Some in cybersec keep claiming that open-source is inherently more secure or trustworthy than closed-source. This is demonstrably false.

While engineers won’t review code for fame/glory, they will for money. Given two products, one open and the other closed, it’s impossible to guess which has had more “eyes” looking at the source — in many case, it’s the closed-source that has been better reviewed.

Chances that open source enthusiasts will stop pretending this is a real advantage: zero.

» The Talk Show: ‘Jamming More RAM in for Free’

I was apparently on the most recent episode of the Talk Show where John Gruber and I discussed ophthalmology for a half hour before getting into Apple stuff.

It’s called “new media”. Look it up.

(Note: At one point I say that iPad sales were down 20 percent, but that number is from the previous quarter. They were down about 10 percent from prior year.)

» Not-Yet-Born Kirk Cameron

The 26th episode of Turning This Car Around gets down and gets funky as we talk about kids and music and, oh, god, we can’t stop talking about Lex’s doll, Brian.

» ‘No skin thick enough’

Brianna Wu:

My name is Brianna Wu. I lead a development studio that makes games. Sometimes, I write about issues in the games industry that relate to the equality of women. My reward is that I regularly have men threatening to rape and commit acts of violence against me.

In my entire Internet life I have been threatened with violence exactly once (after I replied sarcastically when someone took exception to an extremely mild joke I made about George W. Bush). I can’t imagine having to deal with that daily for the crime of creating and having opinions about video games.

» Beaten at their own game

John Gruber’s list of three reasons why Xiaomi is a threat to Samsung is pretty good.

Take a look at this chart by Creative Strategies Ben Bajarin posted on Twitter. You can see how Xiaomi’s upswing coincides with Samsung’s slowing growth and then drop (correlation is not causation disclaimer).

» OS X Yosemite public beta arrives Thursday

Jason Snell for Macworld:

Apple says the first million users to sign up at the OS X Beta Program website will be able to test Yosemite before the OS is released to the general public in the fall.

It was as if a million users cried out that something didn’t work in a beta and… well, were not silenced until the release version came out.

» Delight is in the Details

Shawn Blanc has updated and rereleased his book, Delight is in the Details. It’s on sale today for 25 percent off and I just picked up a copy.

Why did I buy it? Because I watched the video and it immediately rang true to me because of something that happened only last week. I’m currently collaborating on a how-to book. It’s not a giant or earth-shattering endeavor, but I’ve never worked on a book before. And when I sat down to write my section, I found myself staring at the screen of my MacBook for an hour or more, lamely trying to bang out opening sentences, fumbling for words and worrying that I wasn’t going to be able to do this. I had an outline, I knew the topic, I was excited about the the topic. Why couldn’t I get going?

After setting it aside for a few hours, I realized I was starting in the wrong place. The way to get started wasn’t to sit down and start at the beginning of my outline and work through it piece by piece like an automaton. The way to get started was to start with the part I was most looking forward to writing.

As Shawn says right at the beginning of the video:

I have found an excellent approach for doing my best creative work: having fun.

So I jumped ahead to the fun part. The next thing I knew, I had 2000 words and a folder full of screen shots. (No, seriously, I blacked out. I’m not sure exactly what happened.)

Yes, eventually I’ll have to do the harder parts. But those will come more easily with the confidence of having already produced good work and the incentive of being so close to the finish line.

It seems obvious, but I can tell you that it’s something almost everyone struggles with. Things that remind me — podcasts like Back to Work and books like Shawn’s – help me get unstuck.

(Disclosure: I’ve previously written for Shawn’s site, The Sweet Setup. For money. I know, it’s shameful and disgusting and it never would have happened while Steve Jobs was alive.)

» Failing in the execution

The Verge’s David Pierce reviews the Fire Phone:

Amazon’s worked for years on the Fire Phone, thought deeply about what smartphone users need and want, and put all the resulting ideas into one device.

Time and time again, however, the Fire Phone has reminded me that there’s a difference between good ideas about phones and good phones. A big difference.

Maybe it’ll grow into a good phone, but it doesn’t sound like it’s a good phone yet. Which kind of doesn’t seem surprising when the real purpose of the phone is simply to get you to buy more stuff.

Joshua Topolsky tweets:

My quick personal take on the Fire Phone: it is functionally and aesthetically awful


» ‘Profits up again as Apple reports third-quarter earnings’

Revenues were up and their margins remain solid. iPhone sales were up about 13 percent. The only real concern would be iPads, which were down yet again. At the same time, iPad sales were up around 50 percent in several countries including China and India. They were weak in developed countries.

On the conference call with analysts, they indicated they expect to have “a very busy fall”.

Added: Tim Cook also said the growth in the iPhone 5c tier this quarter was higher than the growth in either the 4s or 5s tier.

» ‘It’s Time to Split Up Microsoft’

Great post by Ben Thompson:

It was only a little over a year ago that Ballmer declared, “Nothing is more important at Microsoft than Windows.”

Last week, Nadella said “No.”

Enough virtual ink has been spilled on that memo from Satya Nadella so I don’t want to rehash the argument. Suffice it to say, I see what Thompson is saying but I still think Nadella would have made a better case if he had said it more directly.

As for Thompson’s suggestion that Microsoft be broken up between services and devices and operating system, it’s interesting and makes a lot of sense and I don’t think there’s a chance in hell it’ll happen. The reason is hedging. Now, you could also call that a lack of conviction in your beliefs and you would not be wrong. But businesses call that hedging. Look at Google: they’re an advertising company and they make not one but two operating systems. Admittedly, Google is kookie, but their whole raison d’être for Android was making sure they were not beholden to other companies in mobile.

I don’t know how well that’s really worked out for them in practice. They’re no longer the default maps provider and are on the way out as the default search provider on the mobile platform with the most web usage in the U.S., largely because they developed Android. For a services company, I always think your job is just to make the best damn service you can so that devices companies have to put you on their platform. That may be an overly naïve take on how the world works, however.