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Saturday, October 07, 2017

Protesting NFL Players Aren’t Being Demonized Only by Trumpers | The Nation

"...There is a cottage industry of political journalists whose take on the state of Trump-America is simply, “Don’t talk about racism or it will anger ‘Middle America’ and lead to Donald Trump’s reelection.” This political take has long had a safe haven in centrist politics. Their answer to why Nixon, then Reagan, then the Bushes, and now Trump were elected boils down to movement activists’ wanting too much, too soon. Activists are responsible for scaring the American “middle” into the arms of reactionaries. These journalists never diagnose their defeats as a result of their own politics’ failure to offer a compelling agenda. Instead, we get scapegoating to muzzle and control people who dare to offer a compelling message of change outside the control of smoky back rooms.

This toxic analysis is now being used to attack NFL players—people whom no one a year ago would have confused with “movement activists”—for protesting during the anthem.

In USA Today, an editorial writer named Robert Robb has already staked out the ground, as if racing to secure a patent on the position that if this president wins reelection in 2020, you can blame these NFL players. Forget that by 2020 Trump might be impeached, in prison, or in a large hollowed-out volcano holding the world ransom with a giant laser. Instead, three years in advance of the election, Robb wants to plant the idea that it will be the players’ fault.

To understand the mendacity required to make this argument, read this one tortuous sentence: “You don’t have to be a racist to find galling the spectacle of pampered athletics, making millions of dollars playing a game, hosted in taxpayer-subsidized stadiums, benefiting from an antitrust exemption, ostentatiously exempting themselves from the traditional display of fidelity to our country.”

Let’s start with the strawman bullshit. Find me one NFL player who has called those who disagree with the protests “racist.” What they have said time and again is that they want this country to confront structural racism in the criminal-justice system and policing. They are protesting during the anthem to speak about the gap between what the flag means and what it represents. We have certainly seen some of these players call online trolls racists. Is that OK? Should they get written approval from Robb before they come back on people who call them “n——-“? Or would that just shove “Middle America” into Trump’s arms?

Then there is this idea that they are ”pampered”—a little class bait to justify the racial animus. There is nothing “pampered” about what they are doing. These players are using their platform to raise the profile of a critical issue that has long been ignored. Far from being selfish or “pampered,” they are sacrificing anonymity, endorsements, and personal peace to be a voice for those whose voices are often marginalized or altogether silenced. They also have been subjected to racist hate speech and death threats. Robb also ignores that, while these men are professional athletes, many of them are also black men who have dealt with police violence or racial profiling in their own lives.

But that’s not the sum of the awful. It’s NFL owners, not players, who have been “pampered” by being allowed to fleece billions from the public through “taxpayer-subsidized stadiums.” These owners have also hired an army of DC lobbyists to make sure their antitrust exemptions hold. Some of us have been writing about this outrage for years. Yet Robb is suddenly waking up to this injustice because it’s a way to bash players for talking about racism. It reminds one of the way Pat Robertson can look at a 64-year-old white man who massacres 59 people at a country-music concert and somehow blame, as Robertson said, “disrespect now for our national anthem.” Watch Colin Kaepernick, before the year is out, get blamed for Hurricane Maria, gout, and the germs that cause bad breath..."

Protesting NFL Players Aren’t Being Demonized Only by Trumpers | The Nation

Google Home Mini review: The right smart speaker at the wrong time - CNET

Google Home Mini review: The right smart speaker at the wrong time - CNET

New Dell XPS 13 First Look: Just Plain Prettier

dell xps13 c

"Available in light grey anodized aluminum with a carbon fiber interior or a rose gold finish with white woven glass, Dell is playing up the premium angle for the XPS 13. It even comes in its own leather sleeve. The notebook is slimmer and lighter than its predecessor, however, Dell won't say just how much until CES 2018...."

New Dell XPS 13 First Look: Just Plain Prettier

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Pixel Book Hands-on

Google quietly removed all Android Wear watches from the Google Store

"... The Google Store homepage is quick to show you all of the company's latest and greatest products, but you can no longer search or browse for Android Wear watches from it. The Android Wear page itself can still be accessed by going to the link directly, but for all intents and purposes, Google is hiding this section from any of the Store's visitors.

The LG Watch Style and Watch Sport are still listed within the Android Wear page, but neither of the watches are in stock or available to purchase. If you click on "shop now" next to either one, you'll see a message saying "no longer available" for both..."

Bluetooth won’t replace the headphone jack — walled gardens will

"... So, here’s the problem: headphones, as we have understood them for decades, were once terrifically simple. You could plug any headphones from virtually anywhere into virtually anything, and they would just work. Anyone could make headphones, anyone could sell them, and all of those people could address the entire market of people who wanted to listen to things.

As the headphone jack disappears, the obvious replacement isn’t another wire with a proprietary connector like Apple’s Lightning or the many incompatible and strange flavors of USB-C audio. It’s Bluetooth. And Bluetooth continues to suck, for a variety of reasons. Newer phones like the iPhone 8, Galaxy S8, and the Pixel 2 have Bluetooth 5, which promises to be better, but 1) there are literally no Bluetooth 5 headphones out yet, and 2) we have definitely heard that promise before. So we’ll see.


To improve Bluetooth, platform vendors like Apple and Google are riffing on top of it, and that means they’re building custom solutions. And building custom solutions means they’re taking the opportunity to prioritize their own products, because that is a fair and rational thing for platform vendors to do.

Unfortunately, what is fair and rational for platform vendors isn’t always great for markets, competition, or consumers. And at the end of this road, we will have taken a simple, universal thing that enabled a vibrant market with tons of options for every consumer, and turned it into yet another limited market defined by ecosystem lock-in... "

ASUS Chromebook Flip C101 Unboxing

Pixel Buds translate languages instantly (CNET News)

Pixel 2 really is the mythic Google Phone - CNET

"But make no mistake: With generation two of its Pixel phone line, unveiled Wednesday in San Francisco, Google really wants to deliver the Google Phone. And by that I mean Google wants you to buy this sleek, shiny phone, on presale now, because it's designed to do something even Apple and its Jesus phone can't: tap into everything Google does well.


'Smartphones might be reaching parity in terms of specs,' Rick Osterloh, Google's hardware chief, said Wednesday during a presentation in San Francisco. So, he said, Google is focused on integrating its software and artificial intelligence tech into the hardware. 'It all starts from reimagining hardware from the inside out.'

Wednesday's presentation also saw the introduction of several other devices, including a $250 standalone camera called the Google Clips and a $400 premium version of its smart speaker, called the Google Home Max.

But Google, at its heart, is in the software business. It's world famous for its iconic search engine. People rely on it every day for Google Maps. YouTube, which Google owns, is the largest video site on the planet. Seven of its products, including the three just mentioned, boast more than a billion users. The others are Android, its mobile operating system; Google Play, its marketplace for apps and entertainment; Chrome, its web browser; and Gmail, its web-based mail service.

The new Pixel phones -- the Pixel 2, priced starting at $650, and the Pixel 2 XL, starting at $850 -- try to tap into Google's 19 years in the search business. The most intriguing tie-in doesn't even have to do with the phones themselves. On Tuesday, Google introduced Pixel Buds, a $160 set of wireless (Bluetooth) earbuds with touch and voice controls. They work with any phone.

Though they'll inevitably draw comparisons to Apple's equally priced AirPods for the iPhone, the Pixel Buds offer one feature that's exclusive to the Pixel phone: a real-time translation mode that works with Google Translate. Tap the side of the right earbud to trigger the voice controls, and say 'Help me speak French,' -- or any of the 40 other supported languages, including Greek, Swahili or Vietnamese -- then speak a phrase you want to be translated. The translated sentence comes out of the Pixel's speaker. When the person replies in French, the English translation is piped directly into your ears.  

It's a neat feature. I tried it last week at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, with simple phrases like, 'How are you doing today?' I used it only very briefly, but It worked well enough. The feature isn't earth-shattering; earbuds from a company called Waverly Labs promise something similar.

But the translation feature highlights the sorts of things Google can do to try to make its phone stand out, using all the data and machine learning it's collected from billions of users over time."

(Via.). Pixel 2 really is the mythic Google Phone - CNET:

Google Pixel Buds: AI-powered headphones

Google Home Mini and Max first look

LIVE From Google: #MadeByGoogle 2017 Event Wrap-Up

Google Pixel 2 vs Pixel 2 XL: Hands on!

Google Pixel 2 first look