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Monday News: Home pages, cheap smartphones, Roxane Gay on Zadie Smith,...

I would put it this way: the fewer people use RSS, the better content providers can allow RSS to be. There is less fear of cannibalization, and more hope that easy RSS access will help a post go viral through Facebook and other social media. –Marginal Revolution

Clearly great features are trickling down. But what’s more interesting is how these cheap phones are going to trickle up. Put Internet-connected, app-capable smartphones running the same major operating systems the rest of us use and there will be all sorts of unforeseen ripple effects on us that we can’t even anticipate.

         We tend to think of the ways our technology will affect them. That’s arrogant. We’re the minority. It’s incredibly likely that they’re going to have just as big an effect on us. –Wired

I grappled with being black in America and being Haitian in black America and being black American in Haiti and being middle class when that was rarely considered a possibility for someone who looked like me. I was also trying to make sense of desire and sexuality and wanting so much for myself that felt forbidden. I was trying to figure out who I was and what might be possible for me. I was trying to write toward a space where I could reveal my most authentic self to the people who knew me but did not. –The Atlantic

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!


  1. Darlynne
    May 19, 2014 @ 12:49:09

    Thanks for the link about the cheap smartphones. Technology and apps like those mentioned will definitely trickle up, and about time, too. Locked phones will hopefully become a thing of the past.

    I resisted getting Whatsapp for the longest time, primarily because it felt like the old MCI Friends and Family plan to mine one’s contacts. And it may well be, but, honestly, texting around the world for free (or as near as) has been great.

  2. Cynthia Sax
    May 19, 2014 @ 13:24:29

    Libraries definitely matter. I grew up dirt poor in Canada. We didn’t have running water. We didn’t eat every day (and yes, some of my relatives still live this way).

    But because we had access to a library and to librarians, we had access to knowledge, to the world, to help we desperately needed. Libraries show people what they don’t know, give people hope, provide a form of mentoring.

    All of my siblings (there are 6 of us) have a university education. We have food and housing and a hot shower in the morning.

    I see little Cynthias sitting in our neighborhood public libraries, positioned in front of computer screens they couldn’t afford, accessing information they don’t have at home, and I’m proud that I’m able to give back.

    Public libraries might change but they will always matter.

  3. Lada
    May 19, 2014 @ 13:54:46

    Thank you for that link to the NYC public library video. I feel very grateful today that I live in an area where libraries were able to actually increase their operating hours and I’m able to go after work which is often pretty late. I hope they are able to get more much needed funding.

  4. SAO
    May 19, 2014 @ 14:05:21

    I was flabbergast to read the Wired comment. The only reason cheap smartphones aren’t common in the US is the stupid system of locking phones. Elsewhere in the world, they are quite common. Most people with cheap smartphones use free wifi and apps that don’t require a connection or streaming. I use my smartphone in the US without a data plan. It’s occasionally a pain, but free wifi is ubiquitous.

    I find it easier to track stuff with my phone. I have a meter-reading app which graphs my utility bills and usage. I have a blood pressure app that graphs my blood pressure and will compare similar times of day. I told my husband to get a gas mileage app. I have references, too: A first aid manual, an app that tells me what each E-number for food additives is and it’s risks; I have a math reference with formulas. All sitting in my pocket.

  5. Janine
    May 19, 2014 @ 15:19:57

    Loved the “Why Libraries Matter” video!

  6. Susan
    May 19, 2014 @ 18:34:40

    Janet, as followup to one of last week’s posts, I wanted to note that the NYT has issued a statement that Jill Abramson was not ousted over a pay dispute, but because she was a bitch. Well, glad for the clarification. That makes it all right, then.

  7. Wahoo Suze
    May 19, 2014 @ 19:00:05

    When was the last time anybody heard of a high-profile executive being ousted for being an asshole? I honestly can’t think of a time. They only get ousted for being an asshole AND something else (and not usually for losing money either, hey Jamie Dimon?). But women have to be NICE. Bleargh.

  8. SAO
    May 20, 2014 @ 01:04:06

    The NYT was egregiously underpaying Abramson for years. As executive editor, she was paid $475K, her predecessor got $559K or 15% more. After she protested twice, her salary went up to $525K, or 7% less than the man she replaced.

    As Managing Editor, she was paid less than the other Managing Editor, who was male.

    When she was Washington Bureau Chief, she was paid $100K less than her successor. Given that her salary was unlikely to have been much more than $350K at the time, this is on the order of 25% less.

    These are the only numbers I saw, but given the number of years (from 2000), a very conservative estimate suggests she was shorted 1/2 Million dollars, and the number could be well over a million.

    All for that crucial defect, not being able to pee standing up, which as we all know, has a long-lasting impact on a person’s management ability.

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