In the months ahead, we intend to reimagine everything about the Wired experience—we’ll revamp our tablet apps, retool our website, reinvigorate the magazine, refresh our conferences, and rethink our approach to the mobile and social web. We’re going to add new features, deliver new reader experiences, and revisit just about every aspect of this storied enterprise. And we’re bringing you with us.
If anything, our plan is to produce stories and designs that break the rules more aggressively than ever. Seven years ago, when I served as creative director of Wired, I practiced something I called Wrong Theory: Every page we produced had to contain some element that violated the conventions of traditional magazine design. The results were sometimes jarring, but the pages were always more compelling for their trespasses. It was a bit like that Seinfeld episode in which George decides to do the opposite of whatever his instincts tell him—a strategy that gets him a new girlfriend and a job with the Yankees.
I can’t tell you that every experiment will work out as well as it did for George. But I can promise you change. If you believe that change is good too, then you’re in the right place. This is going to be fun.
I’m genuinely fucking excited to blow shit up.
(Er. Also I may be more profane than Mr. Dadich.)
Here’s another example: Vine is a video service without a play button. This was intentional. Old things are beautiful, but new things should look, well… new. That’s why Vine doesn’t have a play button. It also doesn’t have a pause button, a timeline scrubber, a blinking red light, or dials and a brushed-metal finish to give you the impression that you’re using a dusty video camera.
This future doesn’t just kill the operating system, browser, and search as we know it — it changes the meaning of “computer” as we know it, too. Whether large or small (e.g., a smartphone), a computer’s main function in the near future will be tuning in to — as a car radio tunes in a broadcast station — the constantly flowing global cyberflow. We won’t care much about the computer devices themselves since we’ll be more focused on the world of information … and our lives as attached to it
But Apple might not be the right behemoth to use as a benchmark for Amazon’s recent performance. In 1994, Walmart’s net sales topped $60 billion for the first time, the neighborhood that Amazon’s playing in today. A decade later, Walmart’s sales had nearly quadrupled to $256 billion. Last year, Walmart’s sales clocked in at just south of $444 billion.
Based on a forensic analysis going back months, it appears the hackers broke into The Times computers on Sept. 13, when the reporting for the Wen articles was nearing completion. They set up at least three back doors into users’ machines that they used as a digital base camp. From there they snooped around The Times’s systems for at least two weeks before they identified the domain controller that contains user names and hashed, or scrambled, passwords for every Times employee. While hashes make hackers’ break-ins more difficult, hashed passwords can easily be cracked using so-called rainbow tables — readily available databases of hash values for nearly every alphanumeric character combination, up to a certain length. Some hacker Web sites publish as many as 50 billion hash values. Investigators found evidence that the attackers cracked the passwords and used them to gain access to a number of computers. They created custom software that allowed them to search for and grab Mr. Barboza’s and Mr. Yardley’s e-mails and documents from a Times e-mail server.
Once hackers get in, it can be hard to get them out. In the case of a 2011 breach at the United States Chamber of Commerce, for instance, the trade group worked closely with the F.B.I. to seal its systems, according to chamber employees. But months later, the chamber discovered that Internet-connected devices — a thermostat in one of its corporate apartments and a printer in its offices — were still communicating with computers in China.
I don’t mean to be dismissive of Blackberry’s efforts as a company but I know where my loyalties are, and it’s not with android or apple or any company. It boils down to this–I would never ever tell anyone I care about to consider these phones. So, that’s what I think about Blackberry’s new stuff.
Indiana has three classes of wild animals. Class 1 is mostly squirrels. Class 2 includes foxes, beavers, skunks, raccoons, coyotes, and weasels. Class 3 includes “venomous reptiles,” and all species of bear, big cat, and wolf. All three classes are legal! In fact, the only thing that separates Class 3 animals, which are banned pretty much everywhere else, is that a letter is sent to the hopeful leopard-owner’s neighbors. If 25 or more neighbors respond with a letter saying they are not interested in having a leopard on the block, the leopard is not allowed. Otherwise, no problem, sir. What’s your leopard’s name?
Even more insane is that Indiana provides no law preventing you from owning an endangered species. Here’s what the state document says: “Endangered species of wild animals will be considered Class I, II or III by the division director’s designee and must follow the same procedures accordingly for that class of animal.” So, basically, your local bureaucrat will decide if your pet western lowland gorilla is a Class 2 or 3 animal, then you give him a ten-spot for processing, and you’re all set, the proud owner of one of about fourteen western lowland gorillas. Maybe you can take it to see the home of former president Benjamin Harrison in the lovely Old Northside Historic District of Indianapolis.
Rick MacArthur wants the world to bend to his reality. And in real life, if you’re a wealthy and powerful person, the world does just that. On the Internet, advertisers may attempt to reassemble the ads you see into a perfectly relevant constellation, but the other human beings do exactly what they want to, regardless of what John MacArthur wants. And a vanishingly small number of them devote time to Googling, “magazines that publish essays.” Even if Harper’s was the #1 result for that search term, it wouldn’t help Harper’s one bit. Seriously. Not one bit. Right now, the number-one result for that search is a post by writer Meghan Ward, “20 Places to Publish Personal Essays.” Ward told me that the post has received 450 unique visitors in the last week. That’s a respectable number for a personal site post, but you just can’t build a magazine business around those kinds of numbers. And that’s traffic from all sources, not just Google. The point is: most people don’t read any essays, and those that do want to read the best essays, and they count on — for good or for ill — their friends and Internet friends to act as the editors of the world’s essays for them.
There’s nothing exciting about Facebook’s Graph Search. It’s just another way to lock in free users to a mediocre, incomplete service, just like Google wants to do with Google . Until there’s a personalized, natural-language search box that can search whatever and wherever we want, I don’t think anything else matters.
By far, my favorite daily coverage of CES has been Wired Gadget Lab’s. The format is perfect: a series of updates each day, most of them very brief, colored heavily by the personalities of the writers. It’s blogging informed by Twitter and Instagram. Just a series of “this is interesting/funny” updates.
Wow. Nice praise from John Gruber.
1. “Obama’s Way” (Michael Lewis, Vanity Fair)
2. “The Busy Trap” (Tim Kreider, New York Times)
3. “How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led to My Epic Hacking” (Mat Honan, Wired)
4. “I Learned to Speak Four Languages in a Few Years: Here’s How” (Gabriel Wyner, Lifehacker)
5. “How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet” (Mat Honan, Gizmodo)
6. “How Google Builds Its Maps—and What It Means for the Future of Everything” (Alexis Madrigal, The Atlantic)
7. “Pre to postmortem: the inside story of the death of Palm and webOS” (Chris Ziegler, The Verge)
8. “Microsoft’s Lost Decade” (Kurt Eichenwald, Vanity Fair)
9. “Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can’t Protect Us Anymore” (Mat Honan, Wired)
10. “Why passwords have never been weaker, and crackers have never been stronger” (Dan Goodin, Ars Technica)
The ocean is great, right? It’s big and wavy and wonderful and smells delightfully briny. Let’s all go jump in it on New Year’s Day.
On January 1, at 12 noon, let’s all go jump in the Pacific Ocean.
Where and when
We can meet up at 11:45 on the beach, at the Judah intersection. Afterwards, we can head up to Judah for hot beverages and camaraderie. I’ll bring the whiskey.
Who is invited?
You. Also other people.
What should I bring?
Yourself. Something to warm you up afterwards. A Towel. A sense of humor. The ability to swim. Seriously, the ability to swim.
Can we have a campfire on the beach?
Have you done this before?
Yeah, it was great.
Can I wear a wetsuit?
You can do whatever you want. But no.
I mean, sure. Of course. Wear a wetsuit. Do what you gotta do.
Will there be T-shirts?
There should be T-shirts. Let’s make T-shirts! Who can make T-shirts?