Hi, I'm Jesse.
I write about literature, technology, and politics.

Nothing New. Again.


Remember around 5 years ago when everyone was so upset because Google kept copying Apple?

My, how the tables have turned. Literally everything I’ve from WWDC so far is Apple trying to keep up with what Google is already doing well.

Remember when Apple was actually a source of innovation and companies like Google actually wanted to copying them? Ah, the good old day.

But rejoice, Apple fanbois. Get cocky and call Apple’s copies better than everything because it’s more expensive.

And before the haters all me a hater, because that’s the only reaction Apple fanbois have when someone says something mildly negative about their beloved gadget manufacturer, let me explain something. I’m not anti-Apple. I used to love Apple products. My first smartphone was an iPhone. I had three iPhones before I switched to Android. I had a Macbook Pro that I thought was great. Overpriced, but it worked well. The iPod (classic) is still the best MP3 player. Even though no one uses it anymore because who listens to music that isn’t on their phone?

But Apple lost its way. It stopped innovating and just started copying other companies. This is particularly true after Steve Jobs resigned (this didn’t start with his death). Windows is better than OS X (Desktop, not that stupid tile interface). Android is far, far superior to iOS. Heck, even Windows Phone is better than iOS at this point; it’s just not very popular. I didn’t see anything really compelling in the iOS 8 announcement that isn’t already available in the “hell stew” of Android’s so-called malware-infected ecosystem. 

And this whole home automation thing they announced — it’s just, again, reactionary. Any pundit who thinks Google is quaking in its boots over this announcement is, I guarantee you, completely wrong. Google is new to the business as well, after acquiring Nest and some similar companies, just earlier this year. But Nest is, I believe, the leader in the field at the moment. I’m not entirely sure Apple can effectively compete in this space — their products are sure to be more expensive and they will certainly require iOS, a mobile OS that is quickly decreasing in popularity as Android dominates the market. Apple may end up with a better product, but its reliance on iOS, as well as the so-called “Apple tax,” will make this home automation thing just another Apple hobby that won’t really gain any mainstream prominence. 

Here’s the thing: I want Apple to do well. I’m not a hater. I want them to innovate. Because that creates competition and that makes things better for everyone. But so far, WWDC isn’t showing any signs of a revitalized Apple, despite what all the pundits are saying in response to these announcements. 

I haven’t heard this song in years, but it popped in my head this morning, so I had to scour the interwebz to find it. 

It’s by Lovecunningham, a band I knew when I lived in Florida. 


That’s Dr. Jesse, thank you very much.

Well, not quite yet. But I’m getting closer to the goal!

I just realized I forgot to tell you guys about some very big news I received a few weeks ago. As you know, I’m finishing up my master’s degree at the moment. The plan has always been to get a master’s, then a Ph.D., then teach the always-eager undergrads how to explicate poems and apply Derridean deconstruction theory to literature. Because I’m nice like that. 

So late last year, I started sending out applications for several Ph.D. programs. I’m proud to say that I received and accepted an amazing offer from Ball State University.

It’s an exciting time for me. Finishing up my last semester as a master’s student, writing my thesis, and having all that work validated with an acceptance into a top-notch doctoral program in my field — it’s fantastic. 

This is important. Listen to what RT’s Abby Martin has to say about the state of corporate-funded journalism in the United States. Piers Morgan tries to sway the discussion toward a condemnation of government-funded journalism, but Martin correctly points out that both corporate and government-funded journalistic operations have their faults. 

No journalist is unbiased. If you’re on a network that’s owned by a government — Al Jazeera, Russia Today, etc. — you have a bias toward that government. If you’re on a network that’s owned by a big corporation, you have a bias. 

Both Morgan and Martin point out that they’ve never been approached by the management of their respective news networks and asked to censor their opinions on issues important to their corporate or governmental overlords. But near the end of the video, Martin notes that employees often feel a need to self-censor themselves in the light of their networks’ biases. They may not even realize they’re doing it. 

The only way around this is independent journalism. The problem with that, of course, is that good journalism is expensive. Funding has to come from somewhere. 

As viewers and readers, I think it’s important that we not discount the work these networks are doing based solely on the source of their funding. When Al Jazeera America first launched, there was a pretty hefty backlash because people recognized that a network funded by the Qatari royal family couldn’t be fully objective on issues in which Qatar has any sort of vested interest — oil and energy, for example. RT is routinely dismissed as having a pro-Russian bias. MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN are all corporately funded. Those networks have a vested interest in supporting their owners’ causes. 

That being said, all of those networks (aside from Fox News, but for entirely different reasons) still have value. As consumers of news and analysis, it’s not so much that we have to reject the work of journalists in these companies as much as it is that we have to be aware of those biases and understand how they affect the way information is presented to us. We can’t just sit back and blindly accept what a cable news anchor or newspaper columnist tell us. This is where those critical thinking skills your undergrad professors kept talking about come into play. 

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