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Code/red: Amazon Announces $120 Library Card

Plus, Elon Musk’s Mars Oasis project and Stephen Elop’s lousy layoff memo greeting.



  • The public comment period on the FCC’s controversial net neutrality plan ends — presumably for real this time.
  • Video advertising software company TubeMogul is trading publicly for the first time after lowering its offering price to $7-$8 a share from $11-$13 a share.

“Unlimited” Actually Refers to the Number of Monthly Payments

Is “Unlimited” really the best modifier for Amazon’s new Kindle Unlimited e-book subscription service? That’s $9.99 a month for access to “thousands” of audiobooks and the same 600,000 e-books available in the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library — hardly a Borgesian library of Babel.

To Be Fair, Neither Did Nokia

Om Malik: “Microsoft doesn’t really have a Nokia strategy.”

Translation: We’re Running on VisiCalc and Sneakernet Over Here

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler: “The FCC has been forced by budget restrictions to operate with an IT infrastructure that would be unacceptable to any well-managed business.”

Pics or It Didn’t Happen, Edward …

Edward Snowden: “You’ve got young enlisted guys, 18 to 22 years old, they’ve suddenly been thrust into a position of extraordinary responsibility where they now have access to all of your private records. Now in the course of their daily work, they stumble across … an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising situation. … So what do they do? They turn around and they show their coworker. And their coworker says, ‘Oh hey, that’s great. Show it to Bill down the way.’ And then Bill sends it to George, George sends it to Tom …”

In the First Draft, It Was “Dear Current Occupant”

New York Magazine’s Kevin Roose on Stephen Elop’s layoff memo greeting: “Hello there? Hello there? Out of all the possible ‘you’re losing your job’ greetings, you chose the one that sounds like the start to a bad OKCupid message? ‘Hello there’ isn’t how you announce layoffs; it’s what you say right before you ask, “What’s a girl like you doing on a site like this? ;)” It’s the fedora of greetings.”

Then What’s All This I Hear About CampbellRank?

Apple board member Bill Campbell on Steve Jobs: “Steve would say, ‘If you’re helping [Google] you’re hurting me.’ He would yell at me. I’d say, ‘I can’t do HTML, come on. I’m just coaching them on how to run their company better.'”

Well, Obviously They’re Too Busy Trying to Understand How It Takes Dozens of Designers a Year to Draw a Vagina

Airbnb co-founder and CTO Nathan Blecharczyk: “It’s just like: Go ahead, laugh all you want, guys. We wouldn’t want to design a logo that caters to the lowest common denominator. This was a yearlong undertaking for dozens of people, it’s something meaningful, and no one pauses to really understand that.”

But an Underdog With a $366 Billion Market Cap

Dan Frommer, Quartz: “In reality, Microsoft is now an underdog, and new CEO Satya Nadella seems to get that. Sure, Windows still runs more than 90 percent of desktop and laptop PCs sold worldwide. But the near-term future of the computer industry isn’t just PCs — it’s also mobile devices, including phones and tablets. With that broader definition of a computer, Microsoft Windows powered just 14 percent of computers shipped last year, according to Gartner.”

I Would Like My Plants to Die on Mars — Just Not on Impact

Vice’s Doug Bierend on Elon Musk’s Mars Oasis project: “A small lander carrying a glass-enclosed greenhouse would be launched to the surface. Seeds embedded in dehydrated nutrient gels would activate when the little lander touched down, sending back images and data as the leafy cargo grew and died on the planet’s surface. It could reveal a lot about the viability of transporting life to Mars and sustaining it there — a worthy experiment indeed.”

Off Topic

How They Made the Exploding Head in “Scanners” and an illustrated guide to computer viruses.

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