The Labor Department has no authority to release [diversity] reports for companies that aren’t federal contractors. That knocked out 10 companies: Amazon, Facebook, Groupon, Hulu, LinkedIn, LivingSocial, Netflix, Twitter, Yelp and Zynga.
But even contractors may block the release of their data. Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Microsoft all submitted written objections, successfully petitioning the Department of Labor for their data to be excluded on the basis that doing so would cause “competitive harm.”
Julianne Pepitone for CNN: Diversity in Silicon Valley - black, female, and a Silicon Valley ‘trade secret’ (via).
That excuse is almost on the “my dog ate the homework” level. Sigh.
Raging Thunderbolt, in John Gruber Is A Smart Guy (Or, Maps).
He’s not wrong to state this, but a little historical perspective: at this point five years ago, the only phone that came with a mapping application installed was the iPhone, with its Maps application (coded by Apple, data from Google). Nokia at this point had begun to offer mapping applications (and built-in GPS), but my memory of trying to install one on an N73 (after they’d stopped charging for the app) was one of failing repeatedly.
If you go back just another five years, the state of the art was Streetmap and Mapquest, both of which had interfaces with what seems now to be startlingly primitive indirect manipulation: if you wanted to look a tile to the right, you clicked on the little arrow to the right of the maps. If you were very lucky you had a big enough screen to expand to a 5x5 view, instead of the default 3x3.
Nonetheless, maps are now essential. It doesn’t matter that this is a change that took less than five years; whether or not we deserve to feel entitled to them, we definitely miss it when they’re not there.
Bob Sullivan, in the Red Tape Chronicles: ‘Fair and square’ pricing? That’ll never work, JC Penney. We like being shafted. The story notes that the “massive, creative and aggressive new advertising and pricing campaign that promises simplified prices” “appears to be a disaster. Revenue dropped 20 percent for the first quarter compared to last year. Customer traffic fell 10 percent.” The reason? “If a firm tries to educate consumers on tricks and traps, and tries to offer an honest product, a funny thing happens: Consumers say, “Thank you for the tips,” and go back to the tricky companies, where they exploit the new knowledge to get cheaper prices, leaving the “honest” firm in the dust.”
The point of interest to me (and perhaps the sort of people who read this) is that when I noticed that this was Ron Johnson of Apple, I thought of the way that I’ve never wondered when the best time to buy hardware from them was, or who from. Apple’s pricing is amazingly consistent - there may be 10% off on Black Friday, but probably not on the thing you want, and anyway, it’s not worth waiting for - and that’s true even across stores. (Try finding anyone undercutting the list price on an iPad.)
The product release schedules have also, generally, been well flagged, if you care. The iPhone generally goes on sale in June, and although last year’s 4S was late, pretty much everyone who cared knew it was going to be. iPods are announced in September. Intel’s chip launches are usually followed by refreshed laptop designs (and these days, the advances tend to be incremental enough that missing a release by a month isn’t usually heartbreaking).
Compared to the simplicity and honesty of Apple’s offerings, though, I can imagine the JC Penney product lines, of clothes, shoes, and other household goods, all of which are available from multiple chains and for variable amounts of time, is just so different that Johnson may have to back down from a promise that consumers don’t want him to keep.
I was interested by this section of the article. It seems that a bunch of web companies are either finding it easier to produce Android apps, or have decided that for business reasons their apps fit better away from Apple’s platform.
Whatever the reasons, this bias towards Android seems limited to Yahoo, Amazon, Google, and the like. Odd.