Smoke on the Water

A freak, midday warm front descended upon the city so I went for a walk. The change in temperature was so sudden and dramatic that it caused a mist to rise off the surface of the pond in Central Park.

cp-1I want an iPhone 4s because it’s got a better camera than my iPhone 4. I certainly get a lot of use out of the camera feature and my lousy phone doesn’t sufficiently capture the drama of the scene. Clearly, it’s the phone’s fault. It can’t POSSIBLY be operator error.


I stripped out the color in this one. It makes it look Victorian and sinister. As though Professor Moriarty is about to jump out of the bushes. Speaking of iPhones and villains…


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At the end of Mike Daisey’s The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, he tells the audience that we’ll never look at our Apple products the same way again. And he’s right.

I had always assumed that iPhones, iPads and the like were constructed on long, complex assembly lines by robots, as did Mr. Daisey. That is not the case. Mr. Daisey visited China. He discovered, and conveys in graphic terms, how these devices are painstakingly hand-assembled. The New York Times recently ran a lengthy exposé on how people, some no older than 13 or 14-years old, and with the full knowledge and consent of Apple (and other companies), are being worked, literally, to death. Apple isn’t as benevolent as their P.R. machine would like you to belive.

This is a tough, fascinating monologue that weaves three stories simultaneously; the history of Apple, the rise, fall, and rise of Steve Jobs, and the netherworld of disposable labor in China. By the time some of these kids reach 25, their hands are destroyed from years of repetitive motion work on assembly lines. Apple knows. They all know. But they don’t care.

I probably wasn’t the only one secretly wondering if Jobs’ early demise was some form of cosmic retribution for the people-destroying machine he created. It was recently reported that at a conference, he told President Obama that Apple manufacturing jobs were “never coming back to the U.S.” Now I know why.