Articles filed under Manjoo, Farhad

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  • Why don’t Apple laptops have touch screens? Mar 9, 2013 7:53 AM
    Like many kids, my 2-year-old son can run circles around you on an iPad. Computers, though, flummox him. o when I plop him down in front of YouTube on my MacBook he always gets confused when a video ends. He reaches for the screen and repeatedly taps to get a new clip to play. It's pretty funny, actually. But of course, my kid is totally right. Why doesn't the MacBook screen respond to his touch?

  • Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s misstep Mar 2, 2013 7:37 AM
    Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is going to regret this decision to ban working from home. It’s myopic, unfriendly and so boneheaded that I worry it’s the product of spending too much time at the office. (She did, after all, build a nursery next to her office to house her new baby). Numerous studies have found that people can be more productive when they’re allowed to work away from the office.

  • How Google keeps its workers happy Jan 26, 2013 9:25 AM
    Google monitors its employees' well-being to a degree that can seem absurd to those who work outside Mountain View. And if there's any sign that joy among Googlers is on the wane, it's the Google HR department's mission to figure out why and how to fix it. The company's swank perks — free gourmet food, on-site laundry, Wi-Fi commuting shuttles — are legendary in the corporate world, and they've driven a culture of ever-increasing luxuries for tech workers.

  • The genius of Samsung and the phablet Jan 19, 2013 7:26 AM
    When Samsung first unveiled the Galaxy Note — a 5.3-inch smartphone that was big enough to be a minitablet the world's tech pundits couldn't stifle their giggles. Confounding our predictions, Samsung sold 10 million Notes in 2012, making it one of the most successful smartphone launches in history. Then, in the fall, Samsung launched the Galaxy Note II, an upgraded version with an even larger screen — and it promptly sold 5 million of them, and is on track to sell 20 million over the course of the year.

  • Hybrid computers may replace old PCs Jan 19, 2013 7:41 AM
    PC makers are showing off a variety of laptops and desktops that look completely different from your father's PCs. Call these machines "hybrids," "convertibles," or maybe just call them very weird. Several companies showed off laptops whose screens detach to become tablets. Stranger still were the desktops that double as tablets.

  • Manjoo: My technology new year’s resolutions Jan 5, 2013 7:09 AM
    I write about technology for a living, but tech, and the way I use it, frustrates me all the time. I'm constantly finding technology slow or annoying or buggy, and I'm always on the lookout for new ways of doing things. The turn of the calendar is a good time to implement some changes in how I use technology. I came up with five tech resolutions for the New Year. Some of these might be applicable to you, too.

  • Why Apple Killed the netbook Jan 5, 2013 7:20 AM
    In 2008 and 2009, recession-strapped consumers around the world began snapping up netbooks in droves. They became the fastest-growing segment of the PC market, and some wild-eyed analysts were suggesting that netbook sales would soon eclipse those of desktops and regular laptops combined. That didn't happen. Over the past couple years the netbook market crashed. Now, as Charles Arthur reports in the Guardian, most major PC manufacturers have stopped making these tiny machines.

  • Facebook’s pokey chat app Dec 29, 2012 7:00 AM
    It's pretty brassy to call your sexting app Poke. That was my first reaction to the news last week that Facebook had launched a clone of Snapchat, the trendy smartphone app that lets you send photos and videos that self-destruct after a few seconds.

  • The 8 best technologies of 2012 Dec 29, 2012 7:00 AM
    2012 wasn't a breakthrough year for tech. We didn't get an innovative new category-bursting device — the Apple TV remains a pipe dream and Microsoft's Surface was, for me, a dud. But this was a year for improvement: Everything good got much, much better. That's the theme you'll notice below, in my list of the best technologies of 2012.

  • We have the technology to make safer guns Dec 22, 2012 7:22 AM
    Research shows that it's possible to make safer firearms. There are a slew of sensible technologies that gunmakers could add to their products that might prevent hundreds or thousands of deaths per year. Why aren't gunmakers making safer guns? Because guns are exempt from most of the consumer safety laws that improved the rest of American life.

  • Facebook has revolutionized gift-giving on the web Dec 15, 2012 1:43 PM
    A startup called Karma launched a mobile app that I considered a breakthrough for gifting. The app alerted you to your friends' special occasions, recommended gifts they might like, took care of all the pesky gifting logistics, and, best of all, gave the giftee a sense of joy even before the thing arrived. Karma did a lot of this by plugging into the world's most-comprehensive repository of social relationships — Facebook.

  • The greatest hoodie around, made in America Dec 8, 2012 7:31 AM
    American Giant has figured out a way to do what most people in the apparel industry consider impossible: It's making clothes entirely in the United States, and it's doing so at costs that aren't prohibitive. American Apparel does something similar, of course, but not especially profitably, and its clothes are very low quality. Winthrop, on the other hand, has found a way to make apparel that harks back to the industry's heyday, when clothes used to be made to last.

  • Microsoft just lost its Steve Jobs Nov 17, 2012 6:46 AM
    In a move nobody predicted, Microsoft announced that Steven Sinofsky, the executive who'd led the development of Windows 8 and the Surface tablet, was leaving the company. Sinofsky deserves all the credit (or blame) for Microsoft's new path. He led the development of Windows 8 single-mindedly and almost single-handedly, cutting out input from other divisions as well as from his underlings.

  • The new LED bulbs aren’t worth $50 Nov 11, 2012 7:23 AM
    Last year I visited Switch Lighting, a small Silicon Valley company that claimed to have built something revolutionary. Switch's product: a light bulb that produced the same warm, comforting glow that we associate with Edison's enduring incandescent bulb but lasts 20 times longer and uses a fraction of the energy. The Switch bulb was going to cost $20. I was won over. But the company had to go back to the drawing board and the new bulb costs $50. The bad news: It's not worth it.

  • Why is the Surface so bad? Nov 10, 2012 7:13 AM
    There's only one question anyone should ask about Microsoft's Surface tablet: Is it better than the iPad? It didn't take me a week and a half to decide whether the Surface is better than the iPad. At most it took a couple days, and that's being generous. You'd likely arrive at the same conclusion after playing with the Surface for just a few minutes in a Microsoft Store.

  • On election night, TV trounced Twitter Nov 10, 2012 4:00 PM
    PALO ALTO, Calif. — According to Twitter, there were 31 million tweets on Election Day, with the site hitting a peak of 327,452 tweets-per-minute the moment TV networks called the race for President Obama. That was a record pace for the microblogging network, and the company considers it a point of pride that Twitter never once went down during the surge. As Twitter design chief Doug Bowman noted, “RIP, Fail Whale.” Yet if you wanted to keep close tabs on who was winning Tuesday night, Twitter failed you. The same goes for much of the rest of the Web. The best way to figure out what was going on was to go old-school: Turn on the news, sit back, and relax. TV’s best election geeks — especially CNN’s John King and NBC’s Chuck Todd — were faster, more accurate and more thoughtful than most sources you could find online. Throughout the night, they told you where Obama was doing well, where Mitt Romney was weak, what was going on with congressional races, and why specific returns in specific swing counties across the nation mattered. With King’s “Magic Wall” — the data-spewing touch screen map that he operated with the facility of a tweaked-out gamer — and with its live, exclusive reports on the vote count from important polling places in battleground states, CNN became something like a televised version of polling maestro Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog at The New York Times. If you were watching TV without the aid of the Web, you would have known pretty early Tuesday night that Romney was in trouble, and you would have known exactly why. But if TV offered everything I usually go to the Web for — speed, precision and depth — the Web was full of what one usually finds on cable news: pointless bloviating peppered with unsubstantiated rumor. At its best, Twitter was a noisy echo of television — most people (myself included!) were just telling you what they were watching and how they felt about it. It was hard to find solid information elsewhere online, too. Sites offering live election results were slammed with traffic, which made them slow and unreliable. The scrolling tickers on cable networks offered up results faster than you could find them on most states’ official election pages. TV’s triumph over Twitter was surprising. For the rest of the campaign, Twitter was the center of the political universe. Reporters, pundits and activists used the network to monitor and manufacture each day’s spin. For most of the summer and fall, pretty much everything you saw on cable news at night was born on Twitter in the morning. Twitter’s zenith came during the three presidential debates. Even while Obama and Romney were speaking, its clever, politically minded hordes would fact-check and grade their performances in real time. On TV after the debates, you’d mostly hear pundits telling you stuff they’d read on Twitter. This was old media at its worst. Twitter also revealed its strengths during Hurricane Sandy, directing people to information that was targeted to their needs. Unlike the storm or the debates, Election Night — a long-planned-for event that benefits from a lot of expensive resources — played to TV’s strengths. The networks knew where to deploy their people, and they had specific expertise on staff. Any citizen journalist can report from a storm, and anyone who was watching that first debate could have opined on Obama’s terrible performance, but it takes an election expert to tell you why Hillsborough County, Fla., is crucial to the electoral math, and it takes money and access to send a reporter to monitor the vote tally in that county and report what they’re seeing right now. The good thing is that you don’t have to choose between Twitter and TV. Everyone who was following Twitter Tuesday night was also watching the tube, and that was true of the debates, too. Like peanut butter and jelly, the two are better together. What was most remarkable about the coverage this year was how unafraid reporters were to geek out on the numbers. King and Todd were offering exactly the kind of deep analysis that they knew politics junkies on Twitter would demand from them. And they were also aware, I’m sure, that if they didn’t excel, they’d end up the laughingstock of the Web. Ÿ Farhad Manjoo is Slate’s technology reporter

  • Slate: Under Tim Cook, Apple is stronger than ever Oct 27, 2012 7:42 AM
    Every fall, Apple holds a big event to show off its holiday lineup of gadgets. This year, it held two big events. That pretty much sums up the most important thing about Apple in 2012. The company has long been obsessively focused on making a few devices really well. Now it's making a lot more than a few devices. Releasing so many new things in a single year marks a major philosophical shift for Apple.

  • Slate: The iPhone 5 is a miracle Oct 13, 2012 7:34 AM
    When Apple unveiled the iPhone 5 last month, many tech pundits called it “boring.” I was one of them. Now, almost a month later, it’s time for me to get something off my chest: I’ve made a huge mistake. That’s because, in all other ways, the iPhone 5 is the best phone ever to grace the earth. It beats every single rival on just about every metric you can think of, including speed, battery life, and especially beauty and workmanship.

  • Slate: Hard times in FarmVille for developer Zynga Oct 13, 2012 7:34 AM
    Zynga has entered what looks like a death spiral, and nobody is surprised. This week the firm announced that users aren’t flocking to its latest games, and as a result it’s lowering its revenue expectations for the year. The announcement sparked another brutal slide in Zynga’s stock price; shares were recently trading for less than $2.50 each, more than 75 percent less than at Zynga’s IPO. In some ways Zynga’s demise — along with Facebook’s IPO fizzle and investors’ newfound distaste for advertiser-driven consumer sites — is a good sign for the tech industry.

  • Slate: The world’s best thermostat just got better Oct 6, 2012 7:25 AM
    The Nest, which was built by a start-up co-founded by Tony Fadell, the guy who designed the iPod, is not just the most beautiful thermostat in the world. A minimalist orb that resembles HAL, the Nest may well be one of the most beautiful objects you install in your home — it looks like something from the future, if the future were ruled by people with impeccable taste in Scandinavian furniture.

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