» Unscroogled

Mary Jo Foley:

Derrick Connell, a Microsoft Corporate Vice President in charge of the Bing Experiences team, said over the weekend in a hosted Q&A session that Microsoft is “now done with the (Scroogled) campaign.”

Great news everyone! Those mugs are now collectors items.

Hopefully another smart move by Satya Nadella and another sign that Mark Penn’s influence is waning.

» OS X Beta Seed Program

Pretty interesting. No longer do you have to have a developer account. I hope this is restricted to later more stable builds. Personally, I don’t install anything but final releases on what I laughingly call my production systems. My wife, of course, is still on Mountain Lion because she likes to murder me in my sleep when I change her MacBook too much.

Hopefully this will be a positive change and even make final releases more solid and not just an opportunity to grouse about things people don’t like or how an early release deleted all their kitty gifs #applefail.

» An oral history of MST3k

Writing for Wired, Brian Raftery pulls together interviews of the creative talent behind one of the best worst shows ever to grace your television.

Turn your lights down where appropriate.

» Oh, my god

These HBO Go ads with young adults watching sex scenes with their parents are deviously brilliant.

My wife saw Boogie Nights in the theater with her mother. I can’t even imagine.

(Via Michael T. Rose)

» Sponsor: Tapes for Mac

My thanks to Tapes for Mac for sponsoring the Very Nice Web Site RSS feed this week.

Tapes for Mac is the quickest and easiest way to share screencasts on the web. Record up to three minutes and Tapes automatically uploads it to a unique URL that you can share with whoever you want.

Show your parents how to set up FaceTime. Share project information with your colleagues. Record and post all your unstoppable Minecraft techniques. Use tapes to teach, review or just show off.

You get 60 minutes of Tapes time a month to make your statement — that’s 20 3-minute screencasts, 60 1-minutes screencasts, or however you want to use it. Here’s a Tapes screencast I created and it could not have been easier.

Tapes for Mac is simple and fast and it’s available now on the Mac App Store. If you’ve ever wanted to share short screencasts with you family, friends or coworkers, you should check it out.

» Nike fires entire wearables division


In an unexpected move, Nike has opted to fire as many as 70 members of its Digital Sport division who were focused on hardware development and will not release a now-cancelled new version of the FuelBand fitness tracker that was expected this fall. The company will continue to support the existing FuelBand SE, but is otherwise planning to exit the wearables market just as it is gaining mainstream traction. The company plans to focus on software going forward — possibly signalling a partnership with a hardware maker.

Huh. Wonder who that might be?

UPDATE: Nike denies it has shut down the division, only confirming it laid off “a small number” of people.

» iPhone-assisted hearing aids

Writing for Re/code, Dawn Chmielewski looks at some of the fruit born by Apple’s “Made for iPhone” initiative, such as Starkey’s Halo hearing aids that come with a companion iPhone app:

The app allows people to easily adjust the sound settings to the environment. The geotagging feature uses the iPhone’s integrated GPS to trigger customized settings whenever the wearer returns to familiar places — a favorite restaurant, the movie theater, etc.

The app’s Live Microphone feature addresses a frequent complaint among hearing-aid wearers: In a noisy environment like a restaurant, it’s nearly impossible to hear a dinner companion because of all the ambient noise. With the iPhone connection, the user can place the phone in front of the person opposite him or her at the table and use the iPhone’s microphone to pick up the conversation.

There are two people in my family who should be wearing hearing aids and are not, so advancements like this fascinate me. Context awareness is huge for these devices. It’s shocking enough for an adult to be hit with a sudden loud noise because you didn’t manually adjust the volume before changing contexts, but for a child it can be downright traumatic.

» Flickr 3.0 for iPhone and Android

It’s a great update if somewhat Instagrammy. The previous version looked nice but came off confusing by sizing pictures differently and it lacked obvious social elements.

It’s quite a change of pace but it’s nice to see that Yahoo understands the value of one of its best assets. The app now has a “Find friends” feature that integrates with Facebook and Twitter. I’ve gotten more than a dozen new follower notifications already today so it’s at least working a bit.

» ‘Innoveracy: Misunderstanding Innovation’

Horace Dediu targets a pet peeve of mine: the inconsistent use of the word “innovative”.

…there is another form of ignorance which seems to be universal: the inability to understand the concept and role of innovation. The way this is exhibited is in the misuse of the term and the inability to discern the difference between novelty, creation, invention and innovation. The result is a failure to understand the causes of success and failure in business and hence the conditions that lead to economic growth.

Obviously, this is particularly evident with regards to Apple. Analysts lament the “death of innovation” at Apple because they haven’t shipped a startling new product lately, claiming that Samsung is the new “king of innovation”. Yet, the definition of the term when applied to Apple is delivering a product that completely redefines a market while with Samsung it’s providing the largest breadth of feature sets. These are not the same thing and if you’re an analyst who doesn’t know the difference then you’re not a very good analyst.

» Yahoo trying to get serious

Kara Swisher at Re/code:

Currently, Google is set as the default search on Apple’s mobile devices, but you can change it to either Yahoo or Microsoft’s Bing by adjusting certain device settings.

Mayer aims to change that.

I don’t think I’ve even seen Yahoo search results in 10 years. I’d think that Microsoft would have a better chance than Yahoo, but I wouldn’t doubt Apple’s willing to listen.

Also, someone should hire me to write headlines, right? Look at that. Yahoo? Serious? Gold.