Did Chabon invent this genre—this sentimental noir? Laid atop an alternate history? With a twist of ethnic identity games? The title being a nod to the illusory fraternity of Judaism. The book being a sober reminder that people in diaspora can’t be put back together again, and that any tribe beyond a certain size will splinter. Chabon being the kind of author bold enough to risk the unseemliness of a Zionist conspiracy, as long as it is enabled by a fundamentalist Christian U.S. government. Chabon being someone who anticipated the political eschatology of someone like Sarah Palin—who hails from Alaska, no less, here the site of a tenuous post-WWII Jewish relocation. The talk of chess and messiahs threatening to suffocate the story until we strip such topics of their usual associations to learn that few solutions are elegant, and all endings leave the pieces scattered. Slow-moving while pretending to be lightning-quick, and not as in thrall to the detective genre as it should be, Yiddish fizzles only insofar as it fails to fully capitalize on its sideways world, or correctly organize its hierarchy of concepts—Chabon playing three different solo boards at once, distracted, inevitably checkmates himself.
Facebook is the new Google – as in, they are building up an army of the best damn software developers on the planet. But having great engineers is not enough. Microsoft, Google, and Facebook have each had a monopoly on great engineers for a period of time. But engineers want to solve hard problems – to build abstractions – to unify 3 different things that seem kinda similar. But this has nothing to do with solving real user problems, which is what Apple excels at.
I think another way to put this is that the traditional Silicon Valley recruiting arms race focuses on the wrong problem: it treats engineering talent as the pearl of great price, when in fact it’s actually taste. After a certain point, stockpiling “rockstar” engineers doesn’t help anymore, and in fact it can actually hurt by focusing the company’s priorities through an engineering, rather than product design, lens. Unfortunately, buying engineering talent is straightforward, while buying taste is almost impossible—as I’ve heard Adam Lisagor say, “taste is the most expensive thing there is.”
There are two apps that I use more than any other outside of Gmail and those are Instapaper and Pinboard. Chances are, you’re familiar with Instapaper. If not, get familiar ASAP. It will undoubtedly change the way you read articles that you come across online. And if you have a Kindle, you can set up Instapaper to send you digests every week, which rocks. Pinboard is my preferred bookmarking service. I used Delicious for several years, but I didn’t like the direction the product was headed and started noticing an increased amount of spam, so I jumped over to Pinboard. The service was founded by two nerds from Delicious (one of whom was a co-founder with Joshua) and describes itself as “a bookmarking website for introverted people in a hurry.” Anyone who knows me knows that I’m an extrovert with introvert tendencies. You can check out and subscribe to my Pinboard bookmarks if you’re interested. Enough about all that. Here’s the feature request I’d like to see:
From the Pinboard team Throughout the day I am saving things in both Instapaper and Pinboard and I want them to be more tightly integrated. In Pinboard I have the option to suck in my Instapaper feed, but don’t have the option to send articles the other way. Instead of having to first bookmark an article on Pinboard and then click the Instapaper ‘Read Later’ bookmarklet, I’d like to do both at the same time and I have to imagine others would to. I picture this feature just being an additional checkbox for Instapaper in the Pinboard bookmarklet pop-up. They could probably even integrate it into the ‘read later’ checkbox on the back-end.
*Bonus points if you can make it easy to install a Pinboard bookmarklet on the iPhone, similar to how Instapaper does it.
From Marco at Instapaper This is probably a little more complicated than the feature I’d like to see from Pinboard. When I add something to Instapaper it’s because I haven’t read it yet or at the very least I haven’t read it completely and would like to later. Once I read it, and assuming I want to bookmark it in Pinboard, I would have to open the original article and then click on my Pinboard bookmarklet, tag it and save it. It would be awesome if while reading the article, I could simply ‘add to pinboard’, be able to tag quickly and save. In particular having this on the iOS apps would be incredibly useful.
Morphine were an incredible band. I discovered them while I was in college and was lucky enough to have seen them before Mark died suddenly. I’ll definitely be checking out this film when it comes out.