NYT on Mailer’s description of Kennedy

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I find the parallels with Obama’s detachment striking:

In 1960, Esquire magazine commissioned Norman Mailer’s first major piece of political journalism, asking him to report on the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles that nominated Kennedy. Mailer’s long virtuoso article, “Superman Comes to the Supermarket,” came as close as any book or essay ever has to capturing Kennedy’s essence, though that essence, Mailer candidly acknowledged, was enigmatic. Here was a 43-year-old man whose irony and grace were keyed to the national temper in 1960. Kennedy’s presence, youthful and light, was at once soothing and disruptive, with a touch of brusqueness. He carried himself “with a cool grace which seemed indifferent to applause, his manner somehow similar to the poise of a fine boxer, quick with his hands, neat in his timing, and two feet away from his corner when the bell ended the round.” Finally, however, “there was an elusive detachment to everything he did. One did not have the feeling of a man present in the room with all his weight and all his mind.”

Mailer himself doesn’t know “whether to value this elusiveness, or to beware of it. One could be witnessing the fortitude of a superior sensitivity or the detachment of a man who was not quite real to himself.”

Source: New York Times

The New MacBook Pro: Unfixable, Unhackable, Untenable

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When Apple dropped the MacBook Air to $999 in 2010 to match the price point of the MacBook, they gave users a clear choice: the thin, light, and un-upgradeable MacBook Air or the heavier, longer lasting, more rugged, and more powerful MacBook. Same price, two very different products. At the time, I wasn’t very happy with the non-upgradeable RAM on the MacBook Air, but I respected that Apple had given their users a choice. It was up to us: Did we want a machine that would be stuck with 2GB of RAM forever? Would we support laptops that required replacement every year or two as applications required more memory and batteries atrophied?

ource: Gadget Lab | Wired.com.

Vizio reboots the PC | The Verge

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These machines look quite interesting to me. I crave well-designed, carefully constructed PCs from someone other than Apple. If only they shipped with Ubuntu…

Once Vizio had made the decision to jump into the PC market, it assembled a small internal design team to lead the project. Really small: less than 10 people inside Vizio, although Matt estimates “well over 1,000” people worked on the project at suppliers around the world. The project was led by VP of design Scott McManigal, a former BMW designer who presides over a studio dominated by a wall of whiteboards and drawers full of abandoned prototypes. McManigal is California-friendly and clearly loves talking about his work, but there’s a fundamental practicality to his approach that’s evident in all of Vizio’s designs.

“I can’t say that the inspiration for this design came from a leaf we saw falling off a tree,” Scott tells me. “It was really a deep analysis of what existed in the market, plus where we really felt there was an opening.” In fact, McManigal decided to get as far away from nature-inspired designs as he could, in an attempt to differentiate Vizio’s PCs. “There’s a lot of product out there that’s very organic, with kind of amorphous surfacing that attempts to look very thin — but it doesn’t leave a strong feeling of making a statement,” says McManigal. Vizio’s machines all look precise, with clean lines and sharply tapered edges. McManigal says the goals were to highlight “authenticity of materials” with the aluminum unibody and for the overall design to be “striking but not cluttered.”

Source: The Verge.