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ExtraBITS for 16 June 2014

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In this week’s ExtraBITS, John Gruber analyzes the “new” Apple, Ben Thompson of Stratechery argues for the Apple TV as a gaming device, a bug in TweetDeck resulted in out-of-control tweets, iTunes Radio gained ESPN and local NPR stations, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of Google’s book scanning project, and Josh Centers debates downloading versus streaming on the Pragmatic podcast.

John Gruber on “The New Apple” -- John Gruber of Daring Fireball has posted an extensive analysis of Apple in the wake of this year’s WWDC keynote, focusing on Tim Cook’s comment that “only Apple” can offer a completely seamless experience between devices. Gruber argues that the only “new” Apple is the one Steve Jobs established in 1997, that the company’s recent post-Jobs renaissance is a case of the company growing up, and that Tim Cook is the right CEO to guide Apple in this phase. “Jobs was a great CEO for leading Apple to become big. But Cook is a great CEO for leading Apple now that it is big, to allow the company to take advantage of its size and success,” Gruber said.

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Look Out, Xbox and PlayStation, Here Comes Apple TV -- We’ve often suggested that a revised Apple TV could be a competitive gaming device, and Ben Thompson of Stratechery agrees. He makes the point that while game consoles were a good deal in the 1980s, when personal computers were much more expensive, the price of consoles has risen as the price of PCs has plummeted. He also argues that Apple could revise a gaming-capable Apple TV annually, outpacing traditional game consoles, which typically have a lifespan of 5 to 10 years.

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All Hands off TweetDeck -- If you use the Twitter client/service TweetDeck, you should log out and log back in to block a security vulnerability that quickly spiraled out of control last week, resulting in a torrent of out-of-control retweets. Twitter took TweetDeck offline until the bug could be fixed, but all should be well now.

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iTunes Radio Adds ESPN and Local NPR Stations -- iTunes Radio is now a bit more lively, thanks to the addition of ESPN Radio and several local NPR stations. Unlike most of iTunes Radio’s stations, which feature pre-recorded tracks, the new stations are live streams. To access ESPN Radio, play it from Featured Stations in iTunes, the Music app in iOS, or iTunes Radio on the Apple TV. To find the NPR stations, create a new station and search for “NPR”. In our experience, iTunes on the desktop shows only a handful of stations. To add your favorite station, we recommend searching for it in Music on iOS, where you can tap See More to get more search results.

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Court Rules Google Book Scanning Is Fair Use -- A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of HathiTrust, an academic tool designed to search the text of books that’s a spin-off from Google’s book scanning project. The Authors Guild has long fought book scanning in court, arguing that it violates authors’ copyrights, but the court’s ruling declared that HathiTrust’s scanning and indexing of university library books is protected under fair use exemptions.

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Josh Centers Debates Downloads and Streaming on the Pragmatic Podcast -- Managing Editor Josh Centers joined host John Chidgey on the Pragmatic podcast to debate the pros and cons of streaming and downloading media. Much of the decision comes down to storage versus bandwidth costs, though for some types of content, like comic books, streaming is inherently preferable due to increased choice and lower overall cost.

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