Swamped

Icon Factory is now open for business. — I thought the typical path was to go from many clients to none, not the other way around. It just goes to show you, there’s nothing wrong with having clients.

Google search is constantly getting smarter. Well, it has been smart for quite some time. This autocomplete of search results feature was added way back in 2009. I swear, I just noticed this in the wild last week. And the Google Operating System blog only reported on it recently.

Carl Icahn just recently saved my father-in-law’s job at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City. Not just his job, but thousands of jobs. That doesn’t mean I like the guy. Icahn, that is. My father-in-law is fantastic. But, there is a lot of work to be done around the house, so perhaps letting the Taj go bankrupt wouldn’t have been the worst thing to happen. At any rate, it turns out Icahn is one of Apple’s 10 biggest shareholders. So that’s where his wealth is coming from.

The Making and Effectiveness of an App Preview — David Smith dives into the sales numbers of his iOS app, Pedometer++ after adding an preview video.

Apple Watch developers discuss their plans.

Gone Phishin’

Last summer, Gmail added support for Latin characters. It turns out, they’re pretty useful for spammers getting their phish on.

Be careful with this message. Someone might be trying to trick you by using similar-looking characters (such as Σ and E) in the email addresses contained in this message.

So let me get this straight. I’m not only supposed to read an email’s from address, but I’m supposed to pay special attention to each character?

My father once left himself logged in to Paypal on a library computer, losing all of $30. God knows what he’s been clicking on these days.

The War on Parents

The War on Parents Sometimes it feels as if our school system is at war with parents, and winning. The kids are just the ammunition.

Take homework, for example. Most schools load up the kids with hours of homework, which ruins a family’s quality of life after school, putting parents in the position of being bad cops from the time school is out until bedtime. The kids are stressed, overworked, and tired. You might assume there is a scientific basis for assigning so much homework. Does it make our nation more competitive on the International playing field? Answer: Nope. In fact, the Charter School down the street, that presumably looked into best practices, gives kids time during the school day to complete all of their assignments.

Now suppose your kid joins a sports team, or band, or competitive cheerleading, or just about anything. You’ll find yourself spending weekends out of town for tournaments and competitions. You might be booking hotels for overnight stays, and generally building your life around these occasions. I will acknowledge that for an elite student athlete/musician/mathlete/whatever, the opportunity to compete with the best in the state might help secure a college scholarship. But parents know early on if they have a scholarship-winning sort of child, and most do not. Most parents just want their kids to be active and stimulated, and to have some meat for college applications. For that, do they really need to travel across the state? Where is the scientific basis for the notion that Joe Average Kid is made into a better human being by playing soccer against kids that are six hours away by car?

Things don’t get better after high school. The cost of college is absurd, and half of the value of the degree involves the brand recognition of the school. Worse yet, the best classes fill up early. If society started from scratch to design a system of higher education, I can’t imagine it looking anything like the current system.

Interestingly, society probably has all of the knowledge it needs to fix the problems I mentioned. And parents are probably the strongest block of voters in the country. That tells me the real problem is a lack of leadership. Once again, I must reluctantly step into the void.

When I’m president, I will use the power of persuasion to encourage schools to adopt the best practices of the Charter Schools. I’m assuming Charter Schools have less homework and fewer unnecessary competitions on the road. But more generally, I’ll follow whatever direction the science points to. I’ll also use my powers of persuasion to come up with a useful ranking of colleges by value instead of brand. In time, that sort of comparison should drive down costs and perhaps attract innovative competition. Value rankings already exist, but making those rankings more important will require leadership.

Vote for me and I’ll end the war on parents.

mlk

Conversation, MLK

Time Magazine has some great Martin Luther King photo galleries including Rare Photos at Home and Dr. Martin Luther King, JR. Rare and unpublished photographs of the civil rights movement. I’m sure web surfers around the globe would love to see these twice as large. Which is kind of possible, should you take some time to dig through Google Images with source:life.

Some amazing shots including, The Firing Line (large), Military Escort and, pictured above, Conversation… MLK on explaining to his daughter why she could not go to Funtown, a whites-only amusement park: “One of the most painful experiences I have ever faced was to see her tears when I told her Funtown was closed to colored children, for I realized the first dark cloud of inferiority had floated into her little mental sky.” To keep the Time links going, they do an interesting multimedia piece on the assasination of Martin Luther King as well.

On civil rights fronts, there’s been some great content on the two gay marriage cases that are headed to the Supreme Court. A Risky Proposal: Is It Too Soon to Petition the Supreme Court on Gay Marriage?, and Terry Gross discusses with the author, Margaret Talbot, what the decision of this case will mean for gay rights. Margaret Talbot is also blogging the progress of Perry v. Schwarzenegger for the New Yorker. Go go human rights!