// HAPPENING TODAY
- BlackBerry debuts its new Passport handset at three See the Bigger Picture events around the world.
- Oren Etzioni, executive director of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, is doing a Reddit AMA.
Battle of the Big-Ass Phones
The early success of Apple’s behemoth new iPhones seems to have put the fear into Samsung, the company that pioneered oversized smartphones. Though it had originally planned to launch its Galaxy Note 4 smartphone-tablet hybrid in mid-October, Samsung is expediting the device’s launch in South Korea and China, apparently in reaction to record sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. “The positive reaction from consumers to those two Apple devices prompted us to launch the Note 4 earlier than previously scheduled,” an unnamed Samsung exec told the Korea Times. “Samsung will be aggressive in promoting the Note 4 as it’s true that we are being challenged and pressured amid a difficult situation.” Samsung may have single-handedly created the market for big-ass smartphones, but it no longer has that market to itself. And if it hopes to meet the aggressive sales (shipment) targets it has set for the Note 4, an early launch in a few key markets could prove helpful.
And Half of Them Are Registered to Domain Squatters
Netcraft: “In the September 2014 survey we received responses from 1,022,954,603 sites — nearly 31 million more than last month. This is the first time the survey has exceeded a billion websites, a milestone achievement that was unimaginable two decades ago.”
Point/Counterpoint: Here Is a Ridiculous Question vs. Here Is an Equally Ridiculous Answer
Vice’s Joshua Krisch: “So last summer you thought you were dead.”
Author Esmé Weijun Wang: “Just to clarify, it was last winter that I thought I was dead.”
Good Job Reinventing Payments, Clinkle
A juicy Stanford origin story. A $25 million seed round touted as the largest in
Silicon Valley history and featuring the likes of Intel, Accel, Andreessen Horowitz and Peter Thiel. Endless chatter about a sound-based transaction system that would disrupt mobile payments. Ferociously self-indulgent promotional videos. And after three years of development, what do we get from Clinkle? A Clinkle Visa® prepaid card and associated rewards program? Gamification of payments? Jeez.
Bet Reed Hastings Giggled When He Read This
Barclays analyst Kannan Venkateshwar: “The amount of original content on TV is increasing at >12 percent per year while the amount of time spent watching TV is growing at ~2 percent per year. This combined with broadcasters now airing originals in the summer has resulted in cable network ratings in Q3 turning out to be one of the worst in many years across most media groups. This is likely to result in advertising during Q314 being one of the weakest for a political year since 2006.”
Good Move, Nick — Studies Show a Degree Makes a Big Difference in Your Future Income
Looks like millionaire Summly founder Nick D’Aloisio still has a job at Yahoo and is now headed to Oxford to study computer science and philosophy.
You’re Sitting on It Wrong
Flexible smartphones are likely headed our way eventually. But Apple’s new iPhone 6 Plus wasn’t supposed to be one of them. So it’s amusing to see some of the device’s new owners getting bent out of shape after discovering its thin aluminum chassis bends if you sit on it. That said, I’m not really sure why this is becoming a thing. What is your phone supposed to do if you torque the hell out of it?
NASA Should Name Its Next Mars Orbiter “The Overspend”
The Wall Street Journal on India’s Mangalyaan orbiter: “Mangalyaan, Hindi for Mars craft, cost $74 million to send into space, making it by far the cheapest of recent missions to Mars. The U.S. spent $671 million getting its Maven satellite to Mars orbit, where it arrived late Sunday.”
This Was the Best App Name Ever — Until Apple Deleted It
“Flying Bird Sims — red subway surfers angry birds epic go dumb ways to die temple run 2 fun candy crush saga official app quiz up heads jetpack joyride boom beach piano tiles don’t tap the white tile 4 touch soccer 14 stars fifa- free flappy racing games.” Otherwise known as: “Flying Bird Sims — go family star run angry to birds talking day tom tv gta dumb ninja ways die batman hbo chess cut xfinity the pokemon rope chase temple cookie guy clicker wars jam fruit clumsy hay hulu 2 plus instasize pinterest pou free games.”
BlackBerry Passport: Boxy, but Good?
Re/code’s Bonnie Cha on the BlackBerry Passport: “The Passport’s chance of appealing beyond the BlackBerry faithful is slim. And even some BlackBerry users might eschew the phone due to its bulky design. … In some ways, I almost found it more difficult to manage than other phablets like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and iPhone 6 Plus, because it’s so wide at 3.56 inches across.”
That Explains Those Surly Looks in the Hallway
Max Nisen, Quartz: “In the U.S., the average CEO makes an estimated 354 times as much an average unskilled worker ($12,259,894 vs. $34,645).”
Alibaba founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma: “I got my story, my dream from America. The hero I had is Forrest Gump. … I like that guy. I’ve been watching that movie about 10 times. Every time I get frustrated, I watch the movie. I watched the movie before I came here again to New York. I watched the movie again telling me that no matter whatever changed, you are you.”
Multitasking Makes Stupidity Contagious
Excerpt from “Laptop Multitasking Hinders Classroom Learning for Both Users and Nearby Peers”: “We found that participants who multitasked on a laptop during a lecture scored lower on a test compared to those who did not multitask, and participants who were in direct view of a multitasking peer scored lower on a test compared to those who were not. The results demonstrate that multitasking on a laptop poses a significant distraction to both users and fellow students and can be detrimental to comprehension of lecture content.”
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.