Whip inflation now

Thursday. Let the melting of the snow begin.

Some of the worst-rated Uber drivers are in Boston. Who woulda thought.

Ex-Treasury official Steven Rattner has some advice for the president: Raise interest rates and reduce deficits to get inflation under control and set the economy back on track. I tend to agree. MV = PY. It’ll be politically painful in the short term but in the long term Biden, and the country, will be better off.

There’s a full course in little-known Mac productivity tricks in this Twitter thread.

Is the recall election for San Francisco School Board members a one-off or part of a larger reaction to politicians overreaching? David Leonhardt has some thoughts.

And the Donna Summer Musical, the story of a hometown girl becoming a global sensation, is coming to Boston next week. Hot stuff.

Fit to print

Today is Tuesday. It’s the Year of the Tiger.

Joan Vennochi compares Bill Galvin to Tom Brady. Both are long time winners but Brady, at least, sees the writing on the wall.

The Globe features another opinion piece about dismantling the BPD gang database. It’s ineffective, the authors state without equivocation. But in the New Yorker, David Rohde writes that “concentrating police efforts on the most active criminal groups and individuals that appear to be fuelling homicides seems to have an impact.” And criminologist Richard Rosenfeld told the Washington Post that “certain crime-fighting strategies appear to be paying dividends. Among them: a laser focus on certain areas and individuals that are driving homicides, while also investing in the repair of police-community relations.” Strangely, the editorial position of the Globe seems to be opposed to both.

Commonwealth Magazine, meanwhile, has news about new DA Kevin Hayden, who told them he would be running for a full term. Also, he is not in favor of eliminating the gang database.

David Leonhardt wants to know why we’re so fixated on inflation. The real problem, he writes, is that we’re upset that society just isn’t functioning very well these days. Inflation, he suggests, is just a stand-in for the broader angst we’re experiencing. (Are things really that bad?)

And finally a fix for the incompatibility issues with texting tapbacks, at least on the Android side. Let’s see if Apple fixes things at their end.

Pick your poison

Sunday. The iPhone is 15 years old today.

Two Boston-area restaurants are battling it out—in LA.

Canadians who, for whatever reason, were hesitant to get their shots, are now waiting in line for one, as the vaccine requirement for cannabis and liquor stores approaches. Now that’s an incentive.

Eric Adams is taking a page from Willie Gross’ book on police/prosecutor relations.

Things have been going amazing well for the Webb Space Telescope. If all continues to go as planned it will be in its final position in a few weeks and then, after a five month calibration process, it should be ready to expand our horizons.

And nobody wants to be a member of the green out-group. So annoying.

Subtraction by addition

Monday. Back to work.

Brian Eno likes the idea of NFTs.

Is Google search getting worse? Michael Seibel thinks so. I tend to agree. Results are less straightforward and more often than not lead to clickbait sites rather than helpful information. He suggests a paid version of Google that would eliminate paid rankings. I’d sign up for that – but only if it had privacy features built in. In the meantime, there’s Duck Duck Go.

Not everyone is thrilled to have another news outlet in town. But the more the merrier, I say.

Finland and Sweden are watching the Ukraine situation very closely. Things could go sideways in the north in response to Russian aggression in the south.

And last week I linked to a tweet about an iPhone’s computational photography algorithm replacing a woman’s face with leaves. Turns out that the tweet was wrong about what happened. It wasn’t the iPhone. It was actual leaves.

It will have to wait

Thursday. It’s a birthday for Mickey Mouse.

No cashiers in Starbucks? I know it’s hard to get help but don’t just throw in the towel and get rid of all the humans. I’m usually a fan of new, cutting edge lifestyle technology. But this seems wrong. (Also, probably, unfortunately, the future.)

Well, the legislature wouldn’t let the governor spend the $4 billion dollars in federal relief funds that the state had received. They wanted to decide for themselves how it would be spent. But now, of course, they can’t decide. And they’re going on their holiday break. Matt Murphy and Sam Doran report.

The folks at Facebook claim that mainstream news sites are the most popular source of information on its platform. Anyone who has scrolled through the viral feculence on the blue app would suspect that this just isn’t true. The Markup collected data that would confirm those suspicions.

Now, if you break your iPhone, you can order the parts from Apple and fix it yourself. It’s being billed as a breakthrough for consumer rights. Picture your beautiful smart phone laid out in many, many pieces on the kitchen table while you search for a microscopic torx screw that somehow went missing. I’m pretty sure most people are going to opt to bring the phone in to Apple and have them fix it.

And Melissa Clark has the scoop on how to make a tasty pie for Thanksgiving. But beware of ingredient shortages.

Transitory inflation

Thursday. Veterans Day.

The days are getting shorter. And now with daylight savings in effect, darkness comes even earlier in the evenings. But we do get a little more light in the mornings, unlike in Reykjavík, where the sun doesn’t come up until almost 10 o’clock and then goes down at around the same time as it does here.

For those of us old enough to remember the stagflation of the 1970’s, the specter of runaway inflation looms as a serious threat. The latest numbers are not reassuring. A healthy rate of inflation is about 2%. The numbers for October show us jumping to over 6%. As recent as March it was below 3% before going up to around 5% over the summer. The trend is going in the wrong direction. Even the GameStop crowd is getting nervous. But then again, we’re recovering from a global pandemic and a constrained supply chain. You would expect higher rates as the economy restarts. Battleships don’t turn on a dime. And in the 1970’s, inflation was at around 20%. We’re nowhere close to that. All that said, it still bears watching. The only way out, if it does become entrenched, is a hike in interest rates and likely a follow-on recession. The ghost of Paul Volcker looks down.

The used car market has gone crazy. Kate Marino reports.

Farhad Manjoo writes about Apple’s latest chips, the M1 Pro and M1 Max. He thinks they’re transformative. I’ve been using a new Apple laptop with an M1 Pro chip and I have to agree with him. I have the entry-level model with lower specs and even that blows away any computer I’ve ever used, including an Intel-based pro desktop. It also has an amazingly bright screen, it’s quiet, cool and the battery lasts forever. It shouldn’t be this good.

And the West Side Rag has some scoop on the new West Side Story. Cool.

Reality check

Monday. November arrives.

Apple’s hottest product – its thinnest yet – is a piece of cloth. A $20 dollar piece of cloth. It’s actually backordered. And as they usually do with Apple products, iFixit has a teardown.

When I heard about the Southwest pilot mocking Joe Biden over the PA, I thought it was way out of line. I still do. But Matt Taibbi has a solid point about fair play. The world was a better place when politics wasn’t so engrained in our culture.

Pulling people over just to bring in revenue is a bad policing. Eliminating this practice is the kind of defunding I can get behind.

News Flash: Billionaires want to start a new media outlet to combat disinformation. About billionaires probably. Actually, the Bezos-funded Washington Post has had a pretty good record of providing reliable information. As far as the Henry-funded Boston Globe goes, the jury is still out.

And Spiders are much smarter than you think. Not. Welcome. News.

Staying within the lines

Saturday. Not a great day out there.

How to survive from a venomous snakebite? It’s not quite the way they show it in the movies.

In an Ideas piece, David Scharfenberg uses cellphone GPS data to tell the story of how people move around in the city according to race. At least that was the claim in the headline and the opening. Unfortunately the actual article is mostly just anecdotes and formulaic conclusions.

Apple says it lost $6 billion due to chip shortages. And things won’t get better anytime soon. It takes time and billions of dollars to build new chip fabs. Think years, not quarters. Even BREXIT plays into the shortage. Intel was considering a locating a new fab in the UK but since the vote to leave the EU, the deal is off.

In the Washington Post, Joanna Slater writes about Rachael Rollins as a lightening rod with her confirmation now stuck in limbo. Her firebrand reputation proceeded her to Washington but the story of her being a pretty effective local prosecutor didn’t.

And Rick Steves is back on the road. That’s a very good sign.

A bridge to somewhere

Today is Tuesday. A stormy day is in the forecast.

There’s another thing Apple is good at. Active shooter drills.

Last night was the final debate before the mayoral election. More feistiness. WBUR has their wrap up. Here’s what the Globe said. And the Herald. And UH. Essaibi George continued to push Wu on the issues of low-level, day-to-day governing, while Wu continued to talk big picture initiatives. I don’t disagree with Wu’s vision but I do subscribe to the Tom Menino hierarchy of governing. Solid financials, public safety, constituent services and investment in infrastructure first. Then you can start to tackle the higher level stuff. Otherwise it’s all just aspirational.

Hertz, just out of bankruptcy, spent over $4 billion dollars on 100,000 new Teslas. They paid full price, no discounts. What a country.

The Dorchester Reporter went to look for Willie Gross‘s record of voting in the preliminary and couldn’t find it. George Regan had an explanation. He said a poll worker wouldn’t let the ex-police commissioner vote because his drivers license showed an old address. Why would they ask him to show a license? The Secretary of State’s website says that a poll worker might ask for ID if they had a reasonable suspicion that leads them to suspect an identity problem. I guess that poll worker just didn’t recognise the most recognizable guy in the city.

And it’s the ransomware gang that couldn’t shoot straight. They must have wondered why no one was paying.

Times of plenty

Monday. It’s a birthday for two 20th century artists, Pablo Picasso and Minnie Pearl.

More guns are being found in TSA baggage checks. Many of them are loaded. Not good.

Adam Gaffin went shopping for paper goods and didn’t find much, other than off brand products. Over at the Globe, Beth Teitell highlights a series of first-world supply chain disasters. Special birthday flowers are unobtainable. A dachshund is going without its hypoallergenic food. Sub-Zero fridges are scarce. There are no bar pretzels. No corn dogs. How will we live?

Down in Monterey: there’s a new Mac operating system for download today. Here are some of its features. If your computer is old, check here before trying to install it.

Tesla unreleased full self-driving mode from real world beta testing because of bugs. And they weren’t on the windshield. Meanwhile, another interesting electric vehicle, a truck, is being rolled out by different company, Rivian. I want one of these. Don’t need it, but I still want one.

And space isn’t what it used to be. No billionaires want to go there anymore. It’s too crowded with billionaires.