noun • a know-it-all, wiseguy, wiseacre, or smart aleck;
from the German besser (better) and wissen (to know)

  1. The New Apple TV SDK

    Kyle Richter:

    In reality Apple outsmarted us all, or at least me. The iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches we all have in our homes are the best controllers, but looking at an iPhone screen and trying to watch a TV set across the room is a non-starter. The whole point of a gaming console is to focus on the larger screen in your TV. Enter the new Game Controller framework. This move is so brilliant that it could completely revolutionize home gaming.

    Apple has also done something that should be keeping Microsoft and Sony up at night. Instead of building a bigger, faster, badder AppleTV they are offloading the processing power to iDevices. This allows Apple to keep the AppleTV price point at $99 and offloading the processing to the iPhone, that frankly, most of us already own. Using existing Airplay technology the AppleTV is poised to become the gaming console of 2013.

    While XBox One and Playstation 4 were being announced at E3 for $499 and $399 respectfully [sic], Apple released an ever updating gaming console for $99 (plus the cost of controller and iDevice). Apple also has the best software lineup of any next gen console with more than 750,000 apps. Including hundreds of thousands of sub $10 games. This comes on the tails of modern PS4 and Xbox games tipping the scales at almost $60.

    I think Kyle is wrong about the Apple TV as a thin video client for iPhone-based games, but it’s possible he’ll turn out to be right and it’s definitely an interesting thought experiment.

    Personally, I’d expect Apple to release a higher-end Apple TV that supports gaming (and other apps) while leaving its low-end $99 Apple TV in place as a strictly-as-shipped device—or even just bring games and apps to the next Apple TV hardware update. There’s no particular reason for Apple to try to compete hardware-wise with the Big Three when plenty of Apple TV “gamers” will be folks who bought it strictly as a set-top box and got a Bluetooth controller or two for a few bucks each as an afterthought.

  2. Volkswagen 2014 "iBeetle"

    Benjamin Preston for the NYT Wheels Blog:

    The world has seen plenty of cars equipped with iPhone connectors, but vehicles incorporating iPhone features into the car’s infotainment system are still pretty rare. Volkswagen said that its 2014 iBeetle, to be unveiled at the Shanghai auto show this weekend, is the company’s first model offered with a built-in iPhone dock, custom Beetle app and smartphone functions intertwined with the car’s onboard electronics.

    Volkswagen said it collaborated with Apple to create the iBeetle, making it possible to use an iPhone to listen to music, navigate, make hands-free calls and even monitor the car’s engine functions.

    John Gruber’s commentary:

    Sounds cool. Hope it’s not the Volkswagen Rokr.

    Personally, I hope it is. That would increase the likelihood of seeing a proper Apple car by several percentage points.

  3. Bill for compulsory science fiction education in West Virginia schools

    Alison Flood for the Guardian, via Eric Wisser:

    Ray Canterbury, a Republican delegate, is appealing to the West Virginia board of education to include science fiction novels on the middle school and high school curriculums. “The Legislature finds that promoting interest in and appreciation for the study of math and science among students is critical to preparing students to compete in the workforce and to assure the economic well being of the state and the nation,” he writes in the pending bill.

    "To stimulate interest in math and science among students in the public schools of this state, the State Board of Education shall prescribe minimum standards by which samples of grade-appropriate science fiction literature are integrated into the curriculum of existing reading, literature or other required courses for middle school and high school students."

    "I’m not interested in fantasy novels about dragons," Canterbury told Blastr in a recent interview. "I’m primarily interested in things where advanced technology is a key component of the storyline, both in terms of the problems that it presents and the solutions that it offers."

    He’s going to encounter some difficulty when someone decides to teach the Dragonriders of Pern series.

  4. Most Earth-like Planets Yet Found by Kepler Spacecraft

    Dennis Overbye for the New York Times:

    Astronomers said Thursday that they had found the most Earth-like worlds yet known in the outer cosmos, a pair of planets that appear capable of supporting life and that orbit a star 1,200 light-years from here, in the northern constellation Lyra.

    They are the two outermost of five worlds circling a yellowish star slightly smaller and dimmer than our Sun, heretofore anonymous and now destined to be known in the cosmic history books as Kepler 62, after NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, which discovered them. These planets are roughly half again as large as Earth and are presumably balls of rock, perhaps covered by oceans with humid, cloudy skies, although that is at best a highly educated guess.

    I would not ask to live in any other time.

  5. Apple CEO Tim Cook announces plans to manufacture Mac computers in USA

    Ronnie Polidoro for NBC’s Rock Center:

    In an exclusive interview with Brian Williams airing tonight at 10pm/9c on NBC’s “Rock Center,” Apple CEO Tim Cook announced one of the existing Mac lines will be manufactured exclusively in the United States next year. Mac fans will have to wait to see which Mac line it will be because Apple, widely known for its secrecy, left it vague. Cook’s announcement may or may not confirm recent rumors in the blogosphere sparked by iMacs inscribed in the back with “Assembled in USA.”

    “We’ve been working for years on doing more and more in the United States,” Cook told Williams. It was Cook’s first interview since taking over from his visionary former boss, Steve Jobs, who resigned due to health reasons in August 2011. Jobs died on October 5, 2011, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

    Barring some unforeseen disaster, I would expect to see the manufacturing of just about everything Apple makes get onshored in the next decade. Tim Cook isn’t any happier when preordered devices have to come all the way from China than Apple’s customers are.

    Also interesting:

    What’s next for Apple? Did Cook leave us with a clue?

    “When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years,” Cook told Williams. “It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.”

    Maybe 2013 will be the Year of Gaming on the Apple TV. (Sooner or later I’m going to be right about this.)

  6. For Romney to Win, State Polls Must Be Statistically Biased

    Nate Silver for FiveThirtyEight and the New York Times:

    My argument, rather, is this: we’ve about reached the point where if Mr. Romney wins, it can only be because the polls have been biased against him. Almost all of the chance that Mr. Romney has in the FiveThirtyEight forecast, about 16 percent to win the Electoral College, reflects this possibility.

    Yes, of course: most of the arguments that the polls are necessarily biased against Mr. Romney reflect little more than wishful thinking.

    Nevertheless, these arguments are potentially more intellectually coherent than the ones that propose that the leader in the race is “too close to call.” It isn’t. If the state polls are right, then Mr. Obama will win the Electoral College. If you can’t acknowledge that after a day when Mr. Obama leads 19 out of 20 swing-state polls, then you should abandon the pretense that your goal is to inform rather than entertain the public.

    Presented without further comment.

  7. Besserwisser

    noun • a know-it-all, wiseguy, wiseacre, or smart aleck; from the German besser (better) and wissen (to know)

    Also, the new name for this blog.

  8. Catholic Church excommunicates 9-year-old rape victim, but not her rapist

    Declaring that “life must always be protected”, a senior Vatican cleric has defended the Catholic Church’s decision to excommunicate the mother and doctors of a nine-year-old rape victim who had a life-saving abortion in Brazil.

    Cardinal Giovanni Batista Re, who heads the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, told reporters that although the girl fell pregnant after apparently being abused by her stepfather, her twins had, “the right to live, and could not be eliminated”.

    In an interview with the Italian newspaper, La Stampa, the cardinal added: “It is a sad case but the real problem is that the twins conceived were two innocent persons. Life must always be protected.”

    Police believe the girl was sexually assaulted for years by her stepfather, possibly since she was six. That she was four months pregnant with twins emerged only after she was taken to hospital complaining of severe stomach pains.

    The controversy represents a PR nightmare for the Vatican. The unnamed girl’s mother and doctors were excommunicated for agreeing to Wednesday’s emergency abortion yet the Church has not taken formal steps against the stepfather, who is in custody. Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, the conservative regional archbishop for Pernambuco where the girl was rushed to hospital, has said that the man would not be thrown out of the Church, because although he had allegedly committed “a heinous crime”, the Church took the view that “the abortion, the elimination of an innocent life, was more serious”.

    Let’s parse that again: the Catholic Church thinks it’s more heinous for a young woman to have a life-saving medical procedure than for a stepfather to repeatedly rape a girl for three years.

    Your tithe dollars at work.

  9. Fox News President: 'We Still Don't Know Anything About Obama'

    Anne-Rose Strasser for ThinkProgress:

    In a guest lecture at Ohio University Monday night, Fox News head Roger Ailes touched on media bias, the Obama administration’s legitimacy, and whether comedian Jon Stewart would be on air without Fox News.

    During the event, titled “FOX News: Past, Present and Future,” Ailes argued that US voters still don’t know anything about Barack Obama — a line commonly repeated by conservative commentators and far-right legislators:

    “Tiger Woods gets hit with a 4 iron and we know every girlfriend within 12 miles. We still don’t know anything about Obama” #AilesOU — Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) May 22, 2012

    A brief translation:

    "I don’t like President Obama, so I’m going to maintain that there aren’t literally hundreds of books, news articles, and other works of non-fiction that I could easily pick up and read in order to learn about the life of the leader of the free world. And to top that off, I’m going to complain about the fact that there’s no information on him despite the fact that I head something that can generously be called a ‘news organization’. Mostly, I just like making wild, stupid accusations and I hate actual journalism and facts.”