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The meaning of ‘knowing’

The meaning of ‘knowing’ has shifted from being able to remember and repeat information to being able to find and use it.

Nobel laureate Herbert Simon
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Tim Cook on workplace rights

So long as the law remains silent on the workplace rights of gay and lesbian Americans, we as a nation are effectively consenting to discrimination against them.

Tim Cook
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The iPhone is not and never was a phone. It is a pocket-sized computer that obviates the phone. The iPhone is to cell phones what the Mac was to typewriters.

John Gruber, looking back on five years of the iPhone.
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Starting with the opening gag with Siri doing stand-up comedy and continuing through to Apple’s new maps and Siri’s new features, there was an unmistakeable “Fuck you, Google” undertone to the whole keynote. Apple is forcing Google out of iOS.

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If you’re a programmer or designer, then you’re not like most people. Just because you change your settings in apps you use doesn’t mean that your users will, unless they are also programmers and designers.

Do users change their settings? » UIE Brain Sparks

I change settings on everything I use, and one of my favourite things is getting a new program just so I can look through the settings. They’re right, I’m not like other people 🙂

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Apple conditioned us to forget about terminals and command-line interaces. Apple conditioned us to forget about floppy disks. Apple conditioned us to forget about parallel ports and adopt USB. And now Apple is conditioning us to rethink the way we scroll our content, but also, the need for disc drives and physical media.

Before you set scrolling back to the “old” way, think about this.

On User Conditioning and OS X Lion, on FarukAt.e?

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BBC Worldwide have published their Annual Review for 2011 which highlights Doctor Who as one of the ‘most valuable’ brands, largely responsible for the corporations commercial success.

Doctor Who was also the number-three TV series purchased globally on iTunes in 2010/11.

Wow! Very good news for Doctor Who fans: looks like it will carry on for the foreseeable future!

Doctor Who Online – Doctor Who Boosts BBC profits in the 2011 Annual Review

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Focusing is about saying no. And when you say no, you piss people off. But the result is truly great products.

Steve Jobs, 1997
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Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

Douglas Adams, “The Salmon of Doubt”
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Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced beyond doubt that they are right.

Laurens Van der Post
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Every person in this room has more access to information and scientific knowledge and what is now basic common sense than the authors of the Bible and the Koran. In fact, there’s not a person in this room who has ever met a person whose worldview is so narrow, just by the sheer time in which they appeared in history, as the worldviews of Abraham or Moses or Jesus or Mohammed.

Sam Harris

Something worth remembering. Jesus didn’t even know the germ theory of disease, and thought it was demons that causes all disease. This is someone people look up to as the son of God?

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Text and email are polite invitations to a conversation. They happen at the speed and leisure of both the sender and the receiver. In stark contrast, when you get a phone call, it’s almost always a convenient time for the caller and a bad time for the recipient, who I refer to as the “victim” because I insist on accuracy. My philosophy is that every phone conversation has a loser.

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Science is an ongoing process. It never ends. There is no single ultimate truth to be achieved, after which all the scientists can retire. And because this is so, the world is far more interesting, both for the scientists and for the millions of people in every nation who, while not prefessional scientists, are deeply interested in the methods and findings of science.

Carl Sagan, from the introduction to the mass market edition of Cosmos
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Christians are not bothered in the least that they are risking Allah’s hell by not being Muslims. We all risk the hell of other religions. All I do is risk one more hell than what others do. Once I risk one hell they all look like nothing but empty threats.

John Loftus, Debunking Christianity 
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To argue with a man who has renounced his reason is like giving medicine to the dead.

Thomas Paine, The Crisis
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If you care whether the things you believe are true – including religious beliefs – you ought to be willing to subject your beliefs to rigorous testing, and to let go of them if a solid body of evidence contradicts them. And if you don’t care whether the things you believe are true, then don’t try to defend and/or spread those beliefs to others.

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Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up must come down, down. down. Amen!

If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.

Dan Barker
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Whenever it does anything new these days, you have to ask how does it help them collect more data and learn more about its users.

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The sciences are not sectarian. People do not persecute each other on account of disagreements in mathematics. Families are not divided about botany and astronomy does not even tend to make a man hate his father and mother. It is what people do not know that they persecute each other about. Science will bring, not a sword, but peace.

Robert G. Ingersoll
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It is a profound irony to see religious people praising themselves for their humility while essentially making claims about cosmology, and physics, and astronomy, and geology, and biology, and paleontology, and just dozens of specific sciences that no scientist could make. Every religious person who takes the Genesis account of creation seriously… is essentially saying to somebody like Stephen Hawking, ‘Stephen, you’re a smart guy, and I see you’ve got a lot of equations over there, but you don’t know enough about cosmology, because God did this in six days and He rested on the seventh.’

Sam Harris
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Thanks largely to smartphones, those networks are under greater pressure every day – one streamed YouTube video has the same effect on the network as half a million text messages sent simultaneously, the equivalent of everybody in Newcastle sending a text at once.

o2 Chief Executive

So then why do text messages still cost 10p each (once you run out, as even business tarrifs do not have unlimited) when they are obviously not very demanding on the network?

When I get my new iPhone 4, and switch to a business tarrif, I think I shall switch to an IM app instead of texting.

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Never mind flowers, I’m not even capable of successfully giving a compliment. Well, that’s not quite true. I have no trouble with many compliments, such as, ‘Nice couch,’ or ‘What a well-dug hole,’ or ‘I thought you delivered that calf expertly.’ I don’t have much call to give them, admittedly, but if I ever need to, I’m confident they will trip effortlessly off my tongue. What I can’t do is successfully compliment anyone on their appearance. ‘You look nice today.’ Such a simple pleasantry, but I find it almost impossible. I mean, how personal. Look at the assumptions it makes: I have been scrutinizing your appearance, I think you look better now than you usually do, I consider myself a fit judge to make such a call. Any one of those, I would find deeply embarrassing. Together, they’re an embarrassment neutron bomb.

David Mitchell
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Right now I can click, right-click, middle-click, scroll, three, four, or five-finger swipe in four different directions, pinch, expand, rotate, four-finger tap… and those are just the options I’ve enabled. With multitouch, my trackpad can recognize up to eleven different points of contact, meaning the possibilities are nearly endless. All of that on a trackpad with only one button.

7 anti-Apple cliches that need to die – the old “your mouse only has one button” cliche.
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What’s sort of surprising is how much more stable our games are on the Mac. Looking at the early data available from the Steam client, the Mac is five times more stable than Windows.

Gabe Newell, Valve.

Mac lags Windows in gaming performance, excels at stability

Another interesting statistic: After being out for just 1 week, 11% of Steam purchases are for Mac.

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There is a crack in everything. It’s how the light gets in.

Leonard Cohen
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Prime Ministers should be voted into 10 Downing Street by the people of Britain, not because their party has “stitched up some deal”

David Cameron, 25th April 2010
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I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.

John Cage
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It’s very dear to me, the issue of gay marriage. Or as I like to call it: ‘marriage.’ You know, because I had lunch this afternoon, not gay lunch. I parked my car; I didn’t gay park it.

Liz Feldman
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According to the survey, Macs were cheaper to troubleshoot and required fewer help desk calls; system configuration, user training, and servers/networks/printing were all cheaper for a Mac environment than a PC environment. Software licensing fees turned out to be nearly identical for both platforms.

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I never vote for anyone; I always vote against.

W. C. Fields

(This is how I feel when it comes to UK elections; I don’t particularly think any of the parties are good, but I definitely don’t want the Tories to win…)

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You’re entitled to your own opinion — but you’re not entitled to your own facts.

Michael Specter
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The real situation is that today, two and a half years after the iPhone debuted, web developers can no longer count on every viewer being able to render Flash. The percentage of web user agents with Flash installed is now going down, not up. My money says that trend is permanent, and further, it’ll reach a tipping point in the not-so-distant future and Flash will turn into something like Internet Explorer.

John Gruber
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How would you use flash on an iPad or iPhone though? Anything Flash that requires the keyboard and the mouse at the same time wouldn’t work… Anything that uses arrow keys wouldn’t work… Hovering over controls for drop down menus on flash websites wouldn’t work… Enabling Flash wouldn’t do ***** all but enable ads, why exactly do we want this so bad?

One of the best arguments against flash on the iPhone/iPad yet (apart from the fact that flash is not a web standard, not open source, slow and buggy on the Mac and is fast becoming obselete)
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Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

Mark Twain
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A lot of the people who read a bestselling novel, for example, do not read much other fiction. By contrast, the audience for an obscure novel is largely composed of people who read a lot. That means the least popular books are judged by people who have the highest standards, while the most popular are judged by people who literally do not know any better. An American who read just one book this year was disproportionately likely to have read ‘The Lost Symbol’, by Dan Brown. He almost certainly liked it.

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If you had been born in India, I daresay you would be saying the same thing about Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva. If you had been born in Afghanistan, I daresay you would be saying the same thing about Allah. If you would have been born in Viking Norway, you would have been saying the same thing about Wotan. If you would have been born in Olympian Greece you’d be saying the same thing about Zeus and Apollo.

The human mind is extremely susceptible to hallucination.

Richard Dawkins.

I absolutely love this quote, and it really sums up religion. How can you be sure that you have the right religion, when religion requires no evidence (only faith)? Surely they are all on a level playing field. You only picked your particular religion because of where you were born. So stop being so sure about it!

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Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.

Robert A. Heinlein
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What if mice showed greater distress at the suffering of familiar mice than unfamiliar ones? (They do.) What if monkeys will starve themselves to prevent their cage-mates from receiving painful shocks? (They will.) What if chimps have a demonstrable sense of fairness when receiving food rewards? (They have.) Wouldn’t these be precisely the sorts of findings one would expect if our morality were the product of evolution?

Sam Harris
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If God had not intended for us to eat animals, how come He made them out of meat?

Sarah Palin, Going Rogue

This woman is unbelievably stupid. You know what else is made of meat? People. Does Sarah Palin eat people?

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Art for art’s sake does wonderful things to you. It makes you laugh. It makes you cry. It makes you want to take naps and go places wearing funny pants. Doing something just for the hell of it is a wonderful antidote to all the chores and “must-dos” of daily life. Writing a novel in a month is both exhilarating and stupid, and we would all do well to invite a little more spontaneous stupidity into our lives.

From the NaNoWriMo FAQ. I cannot think of a more wonderful reason to write a novel!

I am both anxious and excited at the idea of finishing the book. Two days in and I am worrying if I will have the time, or if RSI will get me. But I am having a blast doing it and really that is all that matters.

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The word “skeptic” has negative connotations for some. But it is really a positive, inquisitive, reality-based approach to all aspects of life. A skeptic is a person who asks for evidence before accepting a belief and who asks if there could be another explanation other than the first one that is offered. Scientists are skeptics. Skeptics think scientifically.

Harriet Hall
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Search Engine Optimization is not a legitimate form of marketing. It should not be undertaken by people with brains or souls. If someone charges you for SEO, you have been conned.

Derek Powazek in the best SEO rant I’ve ever seen. (via davidkaneda)
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“Well, science doesn’t know everything.” Well, science knows it doesn’t know anything, otherwise it would stop… But just because science doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairytale most appeals to you.

Dara O’Briain
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Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

Albert Einstein
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“I now have the liver of a mid-20s person who died in a car crash and was generous enough to donate their organs. I wouldn’t be here without such generosity,” an emotional Jobs told the audience, exhorting them to all become organ donors

Steve Jobs
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Let there be no doubt that as they are currently practiced, there is no common ground between science and religion… The argument is simple. I have yet to see a successful prediction about the physical world that was inferred or extrapolated from the content of any religious document. Indeed, I can make an even stronger statement. Whenever people have used religious documents to make detailed predictions about the physical world they have been famously wrong.

Neil Tyson
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Friends do not let friends use IE6

Amy Barzdukas, Microsoft’s general manager for Internet Explorer.
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One possible scenario involves Apple leveraging the e-commerce potential of the iPhone by allowing users to pay for real-world items in-store using their mobile devices in combination with their iTunes account. If an iPhone could replace cards, wallet and cash, that would definitely become a selling point for many.

Rumor Has It: Apple Set to Go Toe-to-Toe With PayPal

Oh yes, most definitely. If I could pay for shopping / bus and train fares / etc. wirelessly with just my iPhone, that would be awesome. Very futuristic.

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The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

Richard Dawkins