(This Week I Learned replaces my old Linkliste. Also, I’ll stick to english from now on.)
On Beats by Dr. Dre and electronic music
I never understood why people bought Beats headphones. Most of the time I use the EarPods that came with my iPhone 5s. I also own Bowers & Wilkins P5 headphones, for those hours when I want great sound reproduction and fully dive into a world built by music.
To me, Beats headphones look like they were designed for the purpose of showing off, not for the purpose of delivering music. Slapping “Dr. Dre” on them reinforced my impression, that this product was conceived for status and effect, not musical pleasures.
However, there is another side to Beats - their inaccurate sound reproduction is exactly what people want. This Pitchfork article from two years ago sums it up nicely:
Beats by Dr. Dre are popular because they don’t reproduce music as much as they transform it. They are the right headphones for the current era, because their design “customizes” the sound for the listener who wants bass. Music is never finished; we can chop and screw, add bass, slow it down 100x, mash it up with something else. And people will buy headphones that finish the music in the way they like.
The article also deals with electronic music. I mostly listen to alternative rock/folk/pop, but sometimes I choose electronica and this is what I’m looking for:
… Aphex Twin makes the drums feel, and he knows exactly what to do with the bass that goes with it. There is bass in “Flim”, and its role in the track is key, even if it never overwhelms the space; it supports the drums and engages in a dialog with them, but the approach is subtle and precise and intimate, a whispered conversation instead of a shout across the rooftops.
Jon Hopkins is another good example for this type of electronica.
Jean-Louis Gassée on Satya Nadella
Simply put: Will Nadella have the guts to make the really hard choices (killing off burdening legacy products, that is)?
On Google’s business model:
The representation is one of a research laboratory succeeding against difficult problems. Very similar to a successful academic or industrial laboratory sustained by grants from a benevolent (but messy) organization. Google becomes the embodiment of “big science” and “the world’s laboratory” unfettered by politics and unsoiled by commercial interests.
There is a business in Google but it’s a very obscure topic. The “business side” of the organization is only mentioned briefly in analyst conference calls and the conversation is not conducted with the same team that faces the public.
Astute analysis by Horace Dediu.
How To Survive The Next Wave Of Technology Extinction
Farhad Manjoo argues that a combination of Apple hardware, Google services and Amazon media is the most future-proof solution right now. I agree (and I have been using this solution for several years now).
As Carsten Pötter points out though, this really is an ongoing process. Some people might become so confident in their own setup that they miss a paradigm shift happening right in front of their eyes.
On the difference between “tolerance” and “acceptance” of LBGT persons
Well written piece in german. Also, some facts about why people are homophobic (again, german).