From Daring Fireball:

The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk — regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.

[…]

Brutal. And especially galling from a president who was a constitutional law scholar.

While it may be galling, it also makes perfect sense. Who is more perfectly suited than he?

If you haven’t already checked the Accidental Tech Podcast out, you really should. It’s my new favorite podcast, largely because it features John Siracusa, the host of my previous favorite podcast, the now-retired Hypercritical on the 5by5 network.

That said, I take issue with one of the comments on the show about Microsoft’s “failure” in the mobile space in their latest episode. My point of contention is with Siracusa’s statement, “Shouldn’t [Microsoft] be  right in there slugging it out with Android and iOS instead of like [sic] a distant third or whatever they are?”

I agree that once-upon-a-time, say five or so years ago, Microsoft should have been in there slugging it out more aggressively in the smartphone market, but it’s now too late. The lines have been drawn; iOS and Android are the dominant platforms; and there’s not a whole lot that Microsoft can do about it; and however “lame” it may be to “abandon” this market, there’s no honor (or profit) in fighting a losing battle.

In the last console generation, the Wii became the dominant player because Nintendo decided not to dive into a head-to-head battle of spec one-upmanship, and instead pursued their “Blue Ocean” strategy. If Microsoft wants to remain competitive, it has no choice except to pursue open markets that are relatively free of competition.

This is something that I’d like to come back to later, perhaps in more detail, but out of the many things that are really great about Mad Men, the one that really stands out to me, as a creative professional, is the actual nature of the creative process.

I may very well be ignorant of, but I can’t think of any other show that not only addresses, but accurately portrays the ephemeral and somewhat chaotic nature of being creative and coming up with new ideas  (especially in a commercial, deadline-driven environment).

The two episodes that stand out to me off the top of my head are the first episode of the show’s first season, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and the fourth episode of the second season, Three Sundays.

In the first example, Don Draper spends the entire episode trying to come up with a new idea for Lucky Strikes. Even up until the very last minute, he has yet to come up with a proper idea. I hate to admit it, but this has certainly happened to me more than I care for.

In the second example, the stressful, busy weekends leading up to giant disappointment at having their pitch for American Airlines be for nought is quite spot-on.

I’m a little perplexed how John Gruber doesn’t seem to really grok the Square Stand. I don’t claim to know whether it’ll be successful or not, but its appeal seems obvious to me. I agree that $299 seems high, but if Square can sell them at that price, then why not?

Why does it work with the 30-pin connector and not Lightning? Because the stand is designed  for point of sale. Why would anyone buy the newest iPad if it’s only going to be used for credit card purchases? The less-expensive iPad 2 seems perfectly suited for this function. Sure, they’ll need to update the functionality at some point, but it seems like a low priority to me.

Regarding his last point — if someone is already hooked into the Square system, this seems like a big upgrade from the ultra-janky connector that people get for free, even if the price is a bit elevated. Shit, isn’t that partly what makes Apple so successful?