Sunday, February 27, 2011

On Stage and Afterward, Spotlight on Apple in China -

Mike Daisey’s “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” a provocative monologue that challenges Apple Computer over labor conditions in the factories in China where the iPhone and other devices are produced, ends a successful run at Berkeley Repertory Theater today.

But Mr. Daisey is only beginning a long conversation about what he called “a charged ethical dilemma that is literally in our pockets.”

Mr. Jobs, who is on a medical leave of absence from Apple, has not seen the show, but Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of the company with Mr. Jobs, was in the audience Tuesday night.

Reached by e-mail and asked to comment on the performance, Mr. Wozniak said: “I will never be the same after seeing that show.”

Friday, February 25, 2011

Charlie Sheen -- RAGES in Open Letter about Chuck Lorre |

I gracefully ignored this folly for 177 shows ... I fire back once and this contaminated little maggot can't handle my power and can't handle the truth. I wish him nothing but pain in his silly travels especially if they wind up in my octagon. Clearly I have defeated this earthworm with my words -- imagine what I would have done with my fire breathing fists.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's Time to Rethink Chinese Tech Manufacturing —

Pressure to adhere to environmental, safety and labor standards, while simultaneously offering the lowest possible prices, often motivates Chinese factories to innovate in the area of faking documents, lying to their clients and staging fake conditions to showcase to visiting inspectors. They believe it's the only way to win bidding wars for contracts, and they may be right.

Western companies monitor factories through official audits. These auditors request documents, such as billing records, accounting documents and various certifications that demonstrate chemicals used, salaries paid and compliance with environmental and safety regulations.

But in China, an enormous industry of consulting companies has arisen whose sole purpose is to help factories pass those audits by any means necessary. They bribe officials, make fake documents and generally do whatever it takes to convincingly lie to the auditors.



Jeff Greenwald's
EXTENDED thru Feb 26, 2011
The Marsh Berkeley

2120 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA

thur & fri at 8 pm
sat at 5 pm

"A talented storyteller, with a mellow, easy, and sure delivery."– SF Bay Guardian

"Sublime 90-minute night of improvised storytelling"– SF Weekly

"Peculiar travel suggestions," Kurt Vonnegut wrote in Cats Cradle, "are dancing lessons from God." Indeed, it's those unpredictable discoveries and encounters that make world travel so illuminating. Oakland-based Jeff Greenwald — best known for his best-selling books, including Shopping for Buddhas, The Size of the World and now Snake Lake — brings the hand of destiny to this work: an improvised monologue inspired by the joys of wanderlust. Audience members step onstage, and spin a huge, colorful Wheel of Fortune. Round and 'round it spins, and where it stops, our story begins....


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Apple shareholders reject succession proposal - Apple 2.0 - Fortune Tech:

Asked about the charges raised in "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs," Mike Daisey's monologue critical of working conditions in Apple's Asian supple chain, Cook replied, according to Fortune's Adam Lashinsky: "If it's not on ESPN or CNBC, I don't see it."

Everything that can go wrong with Windows Phone 7 update does:

Sounds simple. Except it doesn't actually work. The two Samsung handsets on the market—the Omnia 7 and possibly the Focus (which are, or were, my pick of the Windows Phone 7 crop, thanks to the way their AMOLED screens make the operating system look so delightful)—are both experiencing "difficulties" with installing the update. The updates are failing to install in two ways. For lucky individuals, the process merely hangs on step seven (out of ten); rebooting the phone resurrects it, albeit without the upgrade. For a minority of unlucky users, the process fails at step six, and corrupts the phone's firmware. What's worse is that for some of them it appears to be bricking the phone completely, rendering it useless.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

East Winds II


If you want to see THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS in the Bay Area, buy your tickets NOW--the entire final week is nearly sold out, and we cannot extend.

Tickets here, while they last...

Drestroy your personality

Monday, February 21, 2011

isaiah’s weblog : Apple's Three Laws of Developers:

Apple’s Three Laws of Developers

A developer may not injure Apple or, through inaction, allow Apple to come to harm.
A developer must obey any orders given to it by Apple, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
A developer must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

— I. Developer
An Open Letter to Apple | Readability Blog:

We’re obviously disappointed by this decision, and surprised by the broad language. By including “functionality, or services,” it’s clear that you intend to pursue any subscription-based apps, not merely those of services serving up content. Readability’s model is unique in that 70% of our service fees go directly to writers and publishers. If we implemented In App purchasing, your 30% cut drastically undermines a key premise of how Readability works.

Before we cool down and come to our senses, we might as well share how we’re feeling right now: we believe that your new policy smacks of greed.

Friday, February 18, 2011

March Issue of 'Wired' Goes Bravely Where Mike Daisey Has Already Gone -- Culture Fiend:

See the new Wired cover story for March 2011? About workers literally killing themselves to make iPhones in China? This is what monologist Mike Daisey will talk about in his one-man show at Seattle Rep Theatre in April, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. He just got to the story first.

“Fifteen years late, and missing the point that it’s about work conditions not suicides, but WIRED finally wakes up. It’s beginning,” Daisey wrote on his blog yesterday. After spending three weeks in and out of an iPhone manufacturing plant in Shenzhen, China (he posed as a prospective client to gain access), the former Seattleite turned the life-changing experience into activist theater. He workshopped the play at the Rep last summer, in addition to trial runs in Boston, DC, and India, and it got great early buzz. You’ll never look at that tiny glowing screen the same way again. The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs opens on April 22; more on the play later this spring.

Infinite Loop - Apple News:

The US Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission have begun looking into Apple's new iOS subscription plan, according to sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal.
Amanecer en Urizar

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Next Brick to Decorate Your Wall: iOS 3.x Devices:

All this shows to me that Apple does not take a good care on users who still use older models, models that still work without a problem otherwise. Look, I'm not asking here to support them by releasing new app or firmware versions for them. If anything, I'm asking for NO updates for these models! I'm asking to not break existing functionality. The App Store update got forced on us, without its engineers properly testing with the 3.1.2 firmware, and without ourselves being able to go to a previous version! Apple should have had some sort of mechanism to not suggest/push/force updates of apps that either are not compatible, or were merely never tested with 3.1.x.

Make no mistake, this is not a mere case of obsolescence. When Macs stopped getting support for new OSX versions for example, they still worked for years to come, and new apps or software updates simply didn't install/showed on them! But this is a different case! This is a case of FORCEFUL BREAKAGE (as in the case of the remote App Store update), or apps showing as compatible, leading users to update and break them (as in the case of "Remote" app)!

Right now, users like me are just sitting with devices resembling semi-bricks. If developers, and especially the Apple engineers, don't get more careful about how they mark compatible their apps, our devices will get more and more app problems as time goes by. As I said in the beginning, it's one thing to stop updating the firmware or apps of older models, and another thing breaking official apps by forcing updates that are not compatible.

15 years late, and missing the point that it's about work conditions not suicides, but WIRED finally wakes up. It's beginning.
Watson Jeopardy! computer: Ken Jennings describes what it's like to play against a machine. - By Ken Jennings - Slate Magazine:

Indeed, playing against Watson turned out to be a lot like any other Jeopardy! game, though out of the corner of my eye I could see that the middle player had a plasma screen for a face. Watson has lots in common with a top-ranked human Jeopardy! player: It's very smart, very fast, speaks in an uneven monotone, and has never known the touch of a woman.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Apple's workplace violations report - Apple 2.0 - Fortune Tech:

One vocational school involved in hiring underage workers for an Apple supplier had falsified student IDs and threatened to punish students who told the auditors their true ages. Another gathered its workers together and instructed them give auditors false wage payment information -- presumably to cover up excessive overtime. At least one supplier offered cash to third-party auditors if they would only sweeten their negative report.

Much of this jibes with the charges laid against Apple by monologist Mike Daisey, who claims in "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs" that he interviewed Foxconn workers as young as 13. Foxconn managers know when the auditors are scheduled to visit, Daisey says, and hide their underage workers out of sight.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Donna Henes: On Valentines and Vulvas:

The Romans celebrated the sacred febris or sexual frenzy of the Goddess Juno in mid February, the time when the birds in Italy mate. On Lupercalia, men and women drew love lots to determine their partner for this festival of erotic games. Sulpicia, prominent 1st century BC Roman poet described her experience thus:

At last love has come. I would be more ashamed
to hide it in cloth than leave it naked.
I prayed to the Muse and won. Venus dropped him
in my arms, doing for me what she
had promised. Let my joy be told, let those
who have none tell it in a story.
Personally, I would never send off words
in sealed tablets for none to read.
I delight in sinning and hate to compose a mask
for gossip. We met. We are both worthy.

Lupercalia was the original Valentine's Day. Unable to stop this popular orgiastic festival, early church fathers created a mythical sainted martyr, patron of lovers, whose feast day would be February 14th. In doing so, they sanctioned a celebration they could not suppress.

All the symbols of Lupercalia are still intact, if sanitized and insipid. Cupid, child of Aphrodite and Hermes was an Herm-Aphrodite, the embodiment of sexual union. S/he is now depicted as a cutsie chubby angel baby with a bow and arrow. Cupid's arrows are symbolic of phallic projectiles of passion, penetrating a red heart. And the heart, which has no resemblance to an anatomical heart, is a simplistic illustration of an aroused and engorged vulva, a holy yoni.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Memo Pad: Jacob Weisberg Blasts The Daily... Arrival at Departures... -

Slate chairman Jacob Weisberg certainly didn’t mince words about Rupert Murdoch’s new baby The Daily in a lecture to journalism students at Columbia University last Thursday. Looking very professorial standing behind the podium in a blazer and blue jeans, with a low-hanging scarf around his neck, he said of News Corp.’s new iPad newspaper, “It represents everything that I hope you will steer clear of as journalists and people who think about news in relation to technology. I mean, first of all the content itself is very low-brow, facile, kind of USA Today, you know. It’s very attractive, but if you read the articles, they’re 600 words long and they sort of digest what you know already.

“It’s a daily, it’s once a day,” he continued. “They say they break in and update it for big news, but did they update it five times today to point out that [Egyptian president Hosni] Mubarak was going to resign though he didn’t in fact resign, what’s the response to that? No, they may have updated it at some point. It’s a digest, it doesn’t have an active relationship [with the news] that we’ve come to expect. There’s no commenting, no social media, no links out. ”

But how did he really feel? “It’s just a bad version of a newspaper in electronic form with a very condescending view of the audience.”

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ayn Rand - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Rand died of heart failure on March 6, 1982 at her home in New York City, and was interred in the Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla, New York. Rand's funeral was attended by some of her prominent followers, including Alan Greenspan. A six-foot floral arrangement in the shape of a dollar sign was placed near her casket.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Shakespeare Would Hate Us - Just Wrought:

He would hate that people more often read his plays than see them.

He would hate, or not have been even able to comprehend, a system in which playwrights make plays for performance in cities far from where they live, for less than it costs them to create, for the narrowest sliver of society.

He would hate that so many modern American playwrights have never acted and never produced, have never done anything in a theatre except watch silently from dark seats.

Since he shared them, he would sympathize with the milquetoast middle class aspirations of most American playwrights—“I just want to have a house and a family and make the same kind of money as my friends I went to college with”— but he would grow to hate them eventually. Shakespeare may have envied his social superiors, but he also knew at his core he was better than them.

He would not hate that we kiss the asses of our benefactors and patrons, but he would hate how poorly and surreptitiously and self-loathingly we do it; almost never managing, as he did, to flatter and skewer with the same loaded lines: floating sublimely above, then suddenly crawling at them from beneath, being everyone and no one at the same time with such stunning success that even today reasonably sane and educated people entertain themselves with the pseudo-intellectual dalliance that he did not even write the plays which he so clearly did.

He would have hated the MFA system for generating new viral spores of actors, playwrights and directors when there isn’t enough work for the ones already in the system.

He would have hated the advent of the auteur director, smothering the natural brilliance of his plays with their dense cloying concepts.

He would hate that artistic administrators make the decisions about which plays get done, instead of a consensus of proprietor/players, all sharing the ownership of the theatre, and thus the risks and rewards.

And most of all, he would hate our necrophilic prejudice for his plays, even the poor ones, over anything new, even the good ones. As the consummate playwright, he would want us to love the living writers as much or more than the dead.
The feng shui of theater spaces and how to fix it - Upstaged Blog - Time Out New York:

There’s another physical element that works invisibly on the audience’s consciousness: the relationship of seating structures to the architecture of the room. At the Duke on 42nd Street, for instance, all the goofy metal details (that railing!) are not as much of a visual hindrance as the gaps on either side of the seating. Dear theater-designers: It’s crucial to make seating seem snugly encased in the architecture around it. It makes an audience feel somehow safer, and therefore more focused and receptive. In the (much-mourned, now-departed) Ohio Theatre, you couldn’t say the space itself made a lick of sense. It was asymmetrical, liberally dotted with columns, felt like a cross between a cathedral and an attic, and it got really, really hot. Set designers tore their hair over it—and yet shows in the Ohio could frequently get away with having no set at all, simply because the audience was carefully jammed into one end of the space, embraced by wooden railings and black duvetyn “walls.”

Friday, February 11, 2011

Why Facebook Should Do More to Help Egypt's Protesters:

In many ways, Facebook has made itself actively hostile to those who would organize against a repressive regime or advance an unpopular idea. Most problematic is the policy that bans pseudonyms. Facebook defends the policy by saying their service is about "real people making real-world connections." But what if the real world is full of secret police looking to crack down on dissent, or snooping bosses who might be supportive of a regime? Harvard Internet freedom expert Jillian C York calls the real identity policy "ludicrously out of touch."

And Facebook's notoriously wonky account deactivation system means that activists can find themselves deleted from the site at crucial moments, with little recourse. In 2007, Facebook permanently deactivated the account of the administrator of another important protest group, The April 6 Youth Movement, because its automatic filter thought he was a spammer; he was actually just furiously organizing protests with other members. Many other activists have been muzzled by Facebook's deactivation system, simply for voicing controversial opinions.

A glimpse of Spring :-)
Intiman is in crisis. They blame the managing director who was there for 18 months for absolutely all of this debacle. I seriously question that, and I hope they work hard to earn back the trust they've squandered...and I hope that wiser and more locally-sourced practices have a chance to take hold. It's a lovely space, and its loss would be a grievous one.

Bad News from Intiman: The Theater Needs $1 Million in the Next Few Months or It Will Close | Slog:

"We're just laying all our cards on the table," Intiman's communications director Becky Lathrop said just before sending me a state-of-the-theater email.

Given the long tradition of regional theaters trying to hide their troubles until the last possible minute—and how that practice usually leaves theaters to bleed until it's too late, or almost too late, to save them—Intiman's approach seems wise. If it isn't too late already.

So. The troubles: Unless Intiman raises $1 million by September, it will shut down. That figure is above and beyond the theatre’s 2011 annual fundraising goal.


Veriphone: What if Apple threw a party and no one came? - Your Tech Weblog:

What if Apple threw a party and no one came?

That's kinda-sorta what happened today with the early-morning in-store launch of the Verizon iPhone (which became available online to Verizon users a week ago, and yesterday to anyone who wanted to order it online).

Apple clearly was expecting queuing at its retail store in the Mall of America. So were, to a lesser degree, the Best Buy Mobile store and two Verizon stores in the megamall. Security personnel were everywhere, and the usual queue dividers were set up.

Past launches of Apple products — iPhones, the iPad, various Mac OS X updates — have always drawn crowds of varying sizes.

So I was astounded to arrive at the mall at about 6:30 a.m. to find that NO ONE was in line at the Apple store. Ditto for the Best Buy Mobile store. One of the Verizon stores had a couple of people.

When the Apple store opened for Verizon-iPhone purchases at 7 a.m., two people were in line (and both appeared to know store employees). Given that, it was a bit surreal to see the Apple employees doing the usual clapping-and-cheering routine as the doors opened

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The Playgoer: Spidey, Your Time is Up:

Yes, there are good reasons we consider a preview process sacred. But let's not romanticize and mythologize it out of proportion. I'm still trying to research when exactly preview performances on Broadway even started, but I believe it wasn't until the 1960s. (If anyone knows for sure, feel free to fill us in.) Before that, opening night was...well, truly an opening night. The way most theatre folk experience it from High Schools to community theatre to most places south of 14th street. Instead, Broadway shows might have a series of "invited" dress rehearsals, amounting to private previews, which were also, by the way, free previews. The big change in the 60s was to actually sell tickets to shows that hadn't opened. But that's why "reduced-price previews" were the norm till sometime in the last ten or twenty years. I guess that was when Broadway producers realized most audiences (especially the increasing tourist portion of the audience) didn't know the difference any more.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop rallies troops in brutally honest 'burning platform' memo? (update: it's real!) -- Engadget:

In 2008, Apple's market share in the $300+ price range was 25 percent; by 2010 it escalated to 61 percent. They are enjoying a tremendous growth trajectory with a 78 percent earnings growth year over year in Q4 2010. Apple demonstrated that if designed well, consumers would buy a high-priced phone with a great experience and developers would build applications. They changed the game, and today, Apple owns the high-end range.

And then, there is Android. In about two years, Android created a platform that attracts application developers, service providers and hardware manufacturers. Android came in at the high-end, they are now winning the mid-range, and quickly they are going downstream to phones under €100. Google has become a gravitational force, drawing much of the industry's innovation to its core.

Let's not forget about the low-end price range. In 2008, MediaTek supplied complete reference designs for phone chipsets, which enabled manufacturers in the Shenzhen region of China to produce phones at an unbelievable pace. By some accounts, this ecosystem now produces more than one third of the phones sold globally - taking share from us in emerging markets.


Friday, February 04, 2011

Haiku Reviews: Steve Jobs’ Ecstasy To San Francisco Symphony | LA, Berkeley, SF news | Breaking Latest International News:

“The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” is a monologue of cutting-edge brilliance, tremendous pathos, and deep intellectual insight carefully calculated to shock audiences that demand the latest technology at the lowest prices. With surgical precision, Mike Daisey explains the appalling human cost of satisfying our trendy, market-driven desires and dares audiences to act like the conscientious consumers they’d like to believe they really are.
Brighton Tattoo Convention 2011




A question for you.  Slanted; yes.  

Your postings talk about getting more artists involved in the administration of theatres.  Would you also argue for getting more administrators involved in the creation of theatre?  You suggest that actors should run the marketing, development, finance functions of theatres.... would you also suggest that the PR guy, fundraiser, and accountant should be actors?

I guess what I'm trying to get at is whether you think that arts administration is a learned skill, and whether you think acting is a learned skill.  If one is, but the other isn't, what is the difference between the two?  Is accounting an innate skill?




This will be quick, as I have to go onstage.

I would argue that in a better world, there would be much less division between administrator and artist in the theater. I have talked about the need for theaters that integrate artists into all areas of their management, because it is the "professionalization" of the theater that has stripped it of its vitality and created generations of theater workers who are cut off from the other disciplines.

The theater needs people who make a lifetime commitment to the theater, and it needs to find ways to honor that commitment. It's a paradigm shift from the current caste system--some people who are comfortable in the current mode will not be as comfortable in a changed world. There will be less room for professional theater managers...unless those managers are workers who delve into every part of the theater. There is less room for artists who only create work in a vacuum--they will need to understand how to write press releases, balance budgets, and get asses in the seats.

I don't have any answers to what acting is, nor am I particularly interested in the question. I am interested in a vital future for the theater that is supported by people dedicated to the theater itself, and less the a theater built around the idea of a living event. To that end I think you need more institutions fueled and filled with artists of every stripe who work in areas we don't traditionally think of as creative in order to make the entire theater a more living enterprise.

And with that, I have to head onstage.



Thursday, February 03, 2011

4-Hour Dentist « The Bygone Bureau:

Listen: I was once just like you — weak, pathetic, not practicing dentistry. I was a lonely turd spiraling down the toilet of life. Now I’m the most successful dentist in the fucking cosmos. Wake up! You can’t even imagine how amazing my life is. Knock knock. Who’s there? Oh hey look it’s me, earlier this morning, eating foie gras off the flawless naked body of a nineteen-year-old Brazilian supermodel. Fact: I can literally produce more semen in ten seconds than a pack of adult wild boars can in ten years. I’ll let that sink in for a second — okay time’s up! Here’s a true story: I’m writing this from a Bavarian castle right now while my butler shines my $15,000 shoes. How did I get this awesome? Was it because I went to “dental school” or obtained a “license”? Get real!
Internet Evolution - Ron Miller - News Corp's The Daily Is Doomed:

What strikes me immediately is that The Daily looks like a conventional news magazine. I don't know what I was expecting -- perhaps something new and more exciting -- but what I got was essentially a multimedia iPad version of Time.

Sure, the multimedia elements are nice, but I can highly recommend The Guardian's Eyewitness or the Life Explorer apps for some really dazzling photo journalism -- both of which are free, by the way. And the fact that The Daily includes video? Well, of course it includes video.

The problem here as I see it is the model. Murdoch apparently thinks that we still want a daily newspaper from a single voice, and that we are willing to pay for it. What he doesn't understand is that today's readers want to read the content they want from a variety of sources. The Flipboard app, for instance, creates a magazine-like experience on the fly from the sources you choose -- and it's free.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Anyone Have a Parachute (color unimportant)?:

Life at a publication such as Harper’s is far from easy. The pay is bad, chances for advancement are almost nonexistent (during my tenure at the magazine, only two people on the editorial staff received a promotion due to merit rather than attrition; I was one them), and with each day, the sense that the magazine and the nation’s readers hold less and less in common only seems to increase. Americans still care about politics, culture, and literature, despite the temptations of new media, television, and whatever myriad distractions presently on offer. Unfortunately, those concerns don’t seem to require Harper’s as an arbiter of what’s valuable, a critic of what’s wrong, an exemplar of comedic savagery, or (to borrow from another endangered colleague) an opportunity for middlebrow intellectual self-congratulation.