Political Partisanship Shouldn’t Exist

The symbols of the Democratic and Republican parties
Image via Smithsonian Magazine

Since the dawn of mankind itself, man has divided itself into factions. In the earliest days, man formed tribes, then nations, and in those nations man divided itself into political parties to surround himself with people who claimed to support his ideals. Now, thousands of years after man’s earliest civilizations rose and fell, our countries are still divided under this ancient system , but they shouldn’t be. Partisanship, political partisanship especially, is one of the greatest handicaps on mankind’s advancement. It discourages individual thinking and thus limits the proposals of new ideas, and instead promotes the idea of the hive mind, essentially an echo chamber that only spews out ideas as antiquated as partisanship itself. Partisanship does this by promoting the idea that, if politicians disobey any the ideals of their political party, they will lose all support and all of their power with it. This forces politicians to conform and constrict themselves to the parameters of the party they fall under, often restricting them from proposing potentially beneficial policies due to the fact that they may not agree with the ideals of said political party. Furthermore, it prevents candidates that don’t run under a political party from coming into the spotlight, candidates that could have life changing policies that they could be looking to put in place. It is this restriction on individual freedom that makes political partisanship such a danger to mankind’s advancement, and what lead to George Washington’s warning against it in his farewell address. But we can steer mankind ship off this dangerous course and move on from this antiquated system. The internet has been a powerful platform for proposing new ideas, and, if used correctly, the internet with its large outreach could be a key weapon towards defeating political partisanship through platforms like YouTube or Instagram, which could be used to promote lesser known candidates who don’t run under a political party, potentially getting rid of the cost of a campaign, which would remove one of the major restrictions of running as a non-partisan. Perhaps, the internet could bring unknown political candidates into the limelight to the same effect that it did with internet celebrities and icons, finally breaking down one of mankind’s greatest limits towards advancement in the process.

In a world where retail stores struggle to survive, how does Apple thrive?

The Recently Renovated “Glass Cube” Apple Store located on Fifth Avenue in New York
Image via Apple

Retail stores are a dying breed. Nowhere else is this statement more true than during the holidays. While stores were packed with eager, savings hungry customers, they now stand as relics, ghost towns occupied by the scarce souls who firmly grasp the ways of the past. They lie as empty tombs, their wares undisturbed, unseen to shoppers’ eyes that are instead scrolling through products on Amazon. But there is one store that has escaped the retail holocaust unscathed. Its beautiful metal walls tightly hold countless visitors whose eyes are lighten up by wonderfully fun and inventive products. The Apple store became the Mecca for shoppers that it is today as part of Steve Jobs grand reconstruction of Apple upon his return to the company. When he took position as interim CEO of the company in 1997, Apple’s retail situation was in shambles. They had no physical stores, instead opting to partner with larger vendors like Best Buy to create stores-within-stores. While this did make it easier and more cost effective to open new retail locations, the strategy had many downsides. For one, the stores often had no set design language, so each one looked different, and, well, pretty plain. On top of this, many of the employees at these locations were not actual Apple employees, but workers at whatever store the Apple store was within, often making them less knowledgeable in the products they were selling. Steve Jobs understood the importance of a string retail presence, especially for companies in the tech space. They allowed for users to get a hands on experience with the devices they might be buying and this allowed for them to establish physical connections with products that could not be established in a virtual environment. The problems with with Apple’s retail approach formed the basis for the retail reconstruction and are still the basis for what makes Apple’s retail approach so effective today. Jobs knew that stores needed a clean, consistent design language that served as a backdrop to amplify the meanings and feelings released by the products on display in the stores. To accomplish this, Jobs worked with all types of designers to design retail locations that looked high tech and futuristic, yet friendly and welcoming. Job’s also knew that the stores needed to reflect and share the unrivaled user experiences of the products that were being sold in the, so well trained and enthusiastic employees were a necessity. Not only did the employees need to know about the products they were selling, they also needed to know how to help customers with any problems that they may have with said products. This need of impeccable customer service is what led to the invention of the Genius Bar and ensures that all employees in Apple stores are enthusiastic and well versed in the products they are selling. What it comes down to is that, unlike stores like Target, Sears, or any other failing retail store, Apple understands its not just the products that your selling, its the experience. This idea is what makes Apple Stores such popular retail locations. They’re cool to go to, they have cool gadgets to play around with and they make you feel like you live on a space ship. If you go to Target or Sears, you walk through seemingly endless and boring aisles, that may contain good products, but don’t provide a good enough user experience to make them worth going to over shopping online from your own home.

Apple could kill wireless carriers, but will they?

Steve Jobs with the original iPhone at its announcement in 2007
Image via AppleInsider

When the first iPhone came out, it was seen as a bold move against carriers. The phone marked the first time that carriers such as AT&T and Verizon didn’t have complete control over the device their cellular network was powering. Many manufactures followed Apple in their move against carrier, opting to design the phone and determine its features first and then go to carriers, and the cellular service industry as a whole lost a major foothold in the mobile computing space. But now, 12 years after the original iPhone changed the world, Apple could finally abandon cellular carriers and possibly destroy them once and for all. Today, in a report published by Bloomberg, it was announced that Apple could reportedly ditch cellular carriers in exchange for their own first party cellular network. According to the report, the network would utilize satellites to provide cell service to users. This would mark the first time in the history of the smart phone that a company would break away from carriers and such a move could drastically disrupt the carrier industry, and possibly even destroy it. With a company as far reaching as Apple, the power that cellular providers hold could finally be stripped away from them. This would have obvious benefits for users, such as increased privacy, possible lower costs for cell service, possibly a better user experience by not needing to use SIM cards, and cleaner design through the removal of said SIM card. But with those clear upsides comes less clear downsides, the biggest of which being antitrust issues. A world in which Apple owns the phone, the operating system, and the cellular network is a pretty clear analog to the time when the Bell-Ma telephone company owned the phone and the phone lines, a fact that led to their splitting up due to an anti trust case. While Apple could allow other phone manufacturers to utilize their cellular technology, an idea made more plausible due to their recent track record of playing nice with other tech giants, something tells me Apple wouldn’t want to do this, as they could use the technology as a possible selling point for future iPhones, as a feature not available on other devices. At a time where Apple is already facing demands to be split up, this would just serve as another argument for an antitrust case against them. But all this relies on whether or not this rumor is true. If it is, this could be a major step in the future of mobile computing, but we will have to wait and see if they can truly replicate move to the same effect of the one they pulled with the first iPhone, 12 years ago.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a bad movie, but it’s my favorite Star Wars movie.

You’ve seen the reviews, you’ve heard it’s a bad movie. And it is, but Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a great Star Wars film, and my favorite Star Wats movie, next to A New Hope. Rise of Skywalker is an incoherent mess. It has nonexistent pacing, a in-cohesive narrator, and events that probably could have taken up a whole movie are cramped into the iconic opening crawl. But through all of this, the latest Star Wars film is a masterpiece in its franchise. When I first watched A New Hope when I was 10, the shear site of the final battle to destroy the Death Star gave me a feeling inside my heart that I had never felt before. It was a feeling of epicness, one that made you fell a part of a bigger universe, whether that be on the side of the Rebellion, or of the Empire. I had relentlessly pursued this utter tingling joy I felt that time I first learned of the Jedi and the Rebel Alliance and the Empire for years. I watched every prequel, sequel, and spinoff made, even the Holiday Special, countless times in pursuit of this feeling. I read every novel I could get my hands on, played every game I could find, but no matter how deep I dug into George Lucas’ universe, my craving for this feeling was not quenched. That was, until today. Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker gives me that same feeling I felt all those years ago, and I love the film for that.

Design of the Day 12/18/19: A minimalist modern day typewriter designed for distraction-free writing.

We’ve all sat down to get some work done and find ourselves 45 minutes later scrolling through reddit without having typed a word. the PureWrite was designed to prevent such distraction and allow for “Pure” writing, where a writer can work on a piece free of any distraction. It is simply a keyboard with a small four inch screen to display your work. You can export your documents by plugging in the PureWrite into your main computer with the USB-C connection, or you can transfer files over wi-fi.