ExtraBITS for 24 March 2014
Lots happened this week, and we have a boatload of ExtraBITS for you to read. Google officially entered the wearables market with Android Wear, a version of its mobile operating system designed for wearables. Time scored a rare interview with Jony Ive, but our own Jeff Carlson wasn’t thrilled with it. Twitter made it easy to discover anyone’s first tweet, the founder of IDG passed away, and the very first Apple dealer is closing its doors.
First Apple Dealer to Close — When the fifth Apple II rolled off the assembly line in 1977, it went to Team Electronics in Minneapolis inside a leather case festooned with an Apple logo (mysteriously lacking a bite mark). That makes the Team Electronics store, which eventually became Twin Cities institution FirstTech, the first and oldest continually operating Apple reseller. Alas, FirstTech is calling it quits, citing pricing pressure from national resellers after Apple recently loosened restrictions on minimum prices. FirstTech has already closed its
Rochester, Minnesota store, which opened just months ago, and will shutter its Minneapolis headquarters on 29 March 2014. A TwinCities.com report by TidBITS contributor Julio Ojeda-Zapata has the fascinating details, plus a video excerpt from the “Welcome to Macintosh” documentary with background on how FirstTech came about and its historical importance in the Apple world. “And it all started in Minnesota,” the video notes.
IDG Founder Dead at 76 — Patrick J. McGovern, founder and chairman of IDG — publisher of Macworld, TechHive, and PCWorld — died 19 March 2014 at age 76. “Over a span of 50 years, McGovern oversaw IDG’s launch of more than 300 magazines and newspapers and championed the expansion of IDG’s network to include more than 460 websites, 200 mobile apps and 700 events worldwide.” He was known for remembering employees’ names, even as the IDG empire grew, and hand-delivering each U.S. employee’s Christmas bonus. Former IDG president Walter Boyd will replace him as
Discover Anyone’s #FirstTweet — Twitter has unveiled an amusing new tool that lets users see the first tweet anyone posted. Mine (@adamengst) linked to a historically interesting pre-App Store article (see “Lights Off for the iPhone,” 20 August 2007), @tonyaengst was paying attention to her to-do list and hydration (some things never change!), @lymond’s Twitter account
outlasted his job, @GlennF was eerily prescient, @joekissell was unsurprisingly preoccupied with email, and @Moltz was predicting the end of Twitter. Oh, and Senator @BarackObama was anticipating the end of the war in Iraq. Link to other great ones in the comments!
Ive Talks to Time — Writing for Time, John Arlidge scored a rare interview with Jony Ive, SVP of Design at Apple. Ive talks about his design process, how he got along with Steve Jobs, and what drives him. Ive said, “We’re surrounded by anonymous, poorly made objects. It’s tempting to think it’s because the people who use them don’t care — just like the people who make them. But what we’ve shown is that people do care. It’s not just about aesthetics. They care about things that are thoughtfully conceived and well made. We make and sell a very, very large number of (hopefully) beautiful, well-made
things. Our success is a victory for purity, integrity — for giving a damn.”
Jeff Carlson Talks About Ive Talking to Time — Our own Jeff Carlson wasn’t pleased with Time’s profile of Jony Ive. In a post on his blog, he describes the article as “ill-informed puff,” pointing out how the author, John Arlidge, compares Steve Jobs to a god, calls an assistant a “tech-head,” and lacks key knowledge about Apple. “I really do wish I knew why such high-profile, information-rich interview opportunities like this one are squandered by big magazines,” Carlson said.
Tech Geeks Film Explosive Chimney Stack Demolition — TidBITS contributor Julio Ojeda-Zapata of the St. Paul Pioneer Press pulled an undesirable weekend reporting shift recently, but was able to turn it into a grand geek adventure by filming the explosive demolition of the 280-foot chimney stack on a decommissioned power plant. He relied on his iPhone 5c, a Nokia Lumia 1020, a Sony handheld camcorder, and the help of a number of friends, one of whom was flying camera-equipped drones above the site. Julio pulled it all together with Final Cut Pro X
and shared the full story — along with the video — on TwinCities.com.
Google Enters Wearable Market with Android Wear — As rumors of an Apple iWatch continue to swirl, Google has revealed its wearable strategy, called Android Wear, a version of the Android operating system tailored for wearable devices. Google will initially be focusing on smartwatches that can provide notifications, answers to voice searches, health and fitness monitoring, connections to devices, and anything else developers can create. As with Android, Google will be working with other companies to develop watches powered by Android Wear in 2014.