Today in Tabs: Tabs by Apple

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Dylan Martinez, Reuters / Corbis

[Ed note: I'm off today because reasons! Tabs today are in the able hands of Tim Maly. Take it away Tim. –R]

Here’s a protip for any aspiring tech journalists reading today’s Today in Tabs: if you need more pageviews, work Apple into the headline somehow. Apple’s legendary tendency to attract traffic means that if a story has an even tangential relation to the company, that relation gets the focus. Similarly, if a story has an even tangential relation to reality but is plainly about Apple, it gets published. ‘Apple’ is an incantation that summons readers.

The drive to publish tech stories involving Apple is one of the Art Frahmisms of the tech press — absurd things that have become so embedded in the craft that they are taken for granted. Just as Art Frahm got really good at drawing underwear falling down for no good reason, the tech press has gotten really good at publishing random musings about Apple. It’s not until you take a step back that it becomes clear how utterly bananas this is.

Today put all that craft on display. It began Thursday with a nice scoop by Matthew Garrahan and Tim Bradshaw about rumours that Apple is in talks to buy Beats Electronics, a scenario so plausible/implausible that it was an April Fool’s joke a few short weeks ago. The news took the tech press by surprise. In a sane world, that would result in links to the original story and perhaps some journalists getting assigned to report out the rumours and see what facts they could add. In our world, we got John Gruber’s expression of confusion, a list of whatever questions popped into Harry McCraken’s head and Jay Yarrow’s litany of befuddlement which could have begun and ended at the second paragraph: “Why is Apple buying Beats? We have no clue.“

In round two — remember this is still hours after the rumours surfaced — we got a series of confident explainers about what Apple is really buying and whether it is an obviously good or obviously bad idea. Not to be outdone by mere speculators, Peter Kafka wrote Apple fan fiction starring a Mary Sue version of himself conducting a pretend interview with Tim Cook. No word on what all this means for HP. Did you know that Beats is to blame for all those Miley Cyrus/Robin Thicke tabs last year?

Here’s another protip for aspiring tech journalists: pick a better dream.

Meanwhile, in a nice bit of anti-synergy, Wired has a round-up of nine expensive headphones that have nothing to do with Beats, photographed by Ariel Zambelich in front of a white background. Enjoy it while you can, Wired, Amazon apparently owns the patent on that now.

Today in Truth: Snapchat has to stop saying its messages go away (nice lede, Jenna), Vibram has to stop saying its finger shoes are good for you, and government officials have to stop acknowledging facts the rest of us know. Looks like they can still use terrible floor charts, though.

Here are all the photos Drake liked on Instagram. Here are all the nipples at the Metropolis Museum of Art (bizarrely SFW). Here is a giant isopod that attacked a submersible drone (SFNightmares), so at least some entities on earth have their heads screwed on right about the robot menace. Here is a timeline by Matt Novak of recent promises about when we’re going to get flying cars (Spoiler: we’re never going to get flying cars). Here is a letter from Cecily McMillan’s jurors who are apparently shocked their decision to convict her of a crime could send her to jail. In March, Molly Crabapple wrote about how messed up the trial was, calling it ‘violent theatre’.

For a different kind of violent theatre, Kate Losse takes a tour of the Kink.com facilities and ends up wondering how social media would be different if we had safewords to deploy against the platform, which ties back into the dark consequences of services like Snapchat being cavalier with users’ privacy, which is a good reason to link to Betsy Haibel’s essay about consent in tech.

Today’s Local Listings in ascending order of hoax likeliness: Perhaps you’d like to taste the beer of the future? Perhaps you’d like to register to attend a black mass (with cultural commentary)? Perhaps you’d like to hit a lady with a car?

Today in Origins: The moment humans began to mess up the ecosystem. The moment tabs began to mess up the Internet. The moment the hunt for Bin Laden began to mess up public health.

Not ALL Origins: Not ALL Men is a funny meme! So funny that it inspired a Today in Tabs title. On Thursday, Erin Gloria Ryan joined the fun by writing a NAM guide for Jezebel which embarrassingly doesn’t acknowledge Shafiqah Hudson who is almost certainly the meme’s originator. Neither does Jess Zimmerman’s brief history for TIME. Hudson is understandably calling foul.

Hudson and some of her followers find it hard to believe these omissions were simple error, given how easily they found the source tweet. As you read the following sentence, bear in mind that I am friends with both the author and editor of the TIME piece and played a role in picking the headline: Hudson’s tweet doesn’t show up in my Google or Twitter search results. We live in a thousand solitudes of individually tailored ~relevant content~ [via #altwave]. In an alternate universe, I’ve written a thinkpiece about how filter bubbles are making it harder to do proper journalism. Also in that universe: I own a yacht for some reason? Anyway, Hudson clearly deserve credit, so maybe someone over at Know your Meme could update the ‘Spread’ section and you might consider buying Hudson’s book.

Today’s song Body & Soul - Dance To The Drummer's Beat

Today’s Underfunded Hoax: The Escherian Stairwell

Today’s Nice Thing You Could Do: Reknowned designer Massimo Vignelli is dying. Has his work impacted your life? He’d love to get a letter from you.

~Most people make the mistake of thinking tabs is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer – that the tabbers are handed this idea and told, ‘Make it look bad!’ That’s not what we think tabs is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Tabs is how it works.~

Today in Tabs was guest written by Tim Maly when he should have been writing about surveillance cameras and cargo containers. You can find him on Twitter @doingitwrong. Rusty remains safe and sound @rustyk5 and Today in Tabs continues its strategic diversity by being available both on Newsweek and via email. Did you know that Kuro5hin is pronounced “corrosion” because Rusty’s name has ‘rust’ in it? I did not know this. Sorry for not covering the whole Google v Oracle thing, it broke literally as I was putting the finishing touches on this draft. Hopefully the legal scholars at 5ua will take care of it.

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